Fold-up car of the future unveiled

2012-01-24 22:40

Brussels - A tiny revolutionary fold-up car designed in Spain's Basque country as the answer to urban stress and pollution was unveiled on Tuesday before hitting European cities in 2013.

The "Hiriko", the Basque word for "urban", is an electric two-seater with no doors whose motor is located in the wheels and which folds up like a child's collapsible buggy, or stroller, for easy parking.

Dreamt up by Boston's MIT-Media lab, the concept was developed by a consortium of seven small Basque firms under the name Hiriko Driving Mobility, with a prototype unveiled by European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso.

Demonstrating for journalists, Barroso clambered in through the fold-up front windscreen of the 1.5m car.

"European ideas usually are developed in the United States. This time an American idea is being made in Europe," consortium spokesperson Gorka Espiau told AFP.

Its makers are in talks with a number of European cities to assemble the tiny cars that can run 120km without a recharge and whose speed is electronically set to respect city limits.

They envisage it as a city-owned vehicle, up for hire like the fleets of bicycles available in many European cities, or put up for sale privately at around €12 500.

Several cities have shows interest, including Berlin, Barcelona, San Francisco and Hong Kong. Talks are underway with Paris, London, Boston, Dubai and Brussels.

The vehicle's four wheels turn at right angles to facilitate sideways parking in tight spaces.

The backers describe the "Hiriko" project as a "European social innovation initiative offering a systematic solution to major societal challenges: urban transportation, pollution and job creation."

  • Boer - 2012-01-25 02:43

    Where can we see a picture of this vehicle?

      Selwyn - 2012-01-25 03:39

      In the March edition of " IMAGINE " magazine, page 4.

      Boer - 2012-01-25 06:09

      Thanks Selwyn

      raath - 2012-01-25 08:17

      It really irks me when they report on innovation but never put pictures in the article.

      craig.a.salter - 2012-01-25 16:18 here is the website for the car

  • Col - 2012-01-25 06:36

    Try this :

  • Squeegee - 2012-01-25 07:07

    This is all we need. Imagine another 100 000 of these toy cars on our roads. Mmm .. I'm sure a taxi driver could fit at least 15 people in one of them.

  • gennath - 2012-01-25 07:20

    Dear news24 - when people read headlines like this they expect to see pictures!!

      Dewald - 2012-01-25 08:18 ......eish this technology is difficult

  • Stephen - 2012-01-25 10:38

    Bad news, I hear the company that produces them has just folded.

  • Zion - 2012-01-25 14:12

    At R8/Euro it will cost about R96 000. Rather buy a Kia Picanto or a Chevrolet Spark. Only advantage it has is it will come out unscathed should a truck go over it. Nobody mention the max. speed?.

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