Tag Archive | "fold up car"

HIRIKO – The World’s First Fold-up Car


If you happen to be sitting in your bath one day and suddenly have one of those magic eureka moments when, in a blaze of clarity, you come up with an idea that nobody has ever thought of before, the chances are that you are presently going to be bitterly disappointed. Brilliant ideas, I think you’ll find, are the province of someone else; so if you dream of inventing a folding car, I’m afraid you are too late – the Hiriko has already been born.

The Hiriko is, as you’d expect, very small, essentially what we’d describe as a bubble car. When parking, a mechanism tucks the rear of the car beneath the chassis effectively reducing the length by one metre and can be accomplished whilst still sitting in the car, so being crushed is not an issue. The windshield is also the door, which means the car can be driven into the space thus enabling the two occupants to step straight out onto the pavement! Outstanding!

Drive comes courtesy of regular mains juice and is driven and steered by ‘in-wheel’ electric motors; control is maintained through a joystick rather than a conventional steering wheel. This arrangement means that the car can effectively turn pretty much on its own footprint. Each wheel integrates a motor, steering actuators, suspension and braking, controlled by a drive-by-wire system. The car is entirely battery-powered with a single-charge range of 75 miles (120 km), or, if current (sorry) experience is anything to go by, less.

This latest ‘city car’ has been jointly developed by a partnership involving the Spanish government, the Basque Centre for Innovation and local businesses coupled with the MIT Media Lab in the USA. The Spanish hope to put it into production in 2013. Such a radical design idea is hoped to be the beginning of the push to free up space in our traffic choked city centres. Initially, trials are to take place in some European and American cities, in line with the policy set by the ‘Autolib’ project in Paris which provides an electric car hire/share scheme. The car was announced by no less a luminary than the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso.

In case you’re wondering, the name isn’t Japanese but rather a combination of the Basque words hiri and kotxe which mean, respectively and approximately, city and car. It has been suggested that the car will sell for around £11000 which seems a bit optimistic. Whether it has any value for anyone other than city dwellers remains to be seen but it certainly will appeal to city authorities who may well consider it for car hire schemes. Wait a minute! Here’s a great idea. If electric cars are already exempt from the London congestion charge, maybe Mayor Johnson will pay us to drive a Hiriko as we could get three into one parking space! What do you reckon?

 

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bG9nZ2VyX0xvZ28uanBnIjtpOjI7czo3MzoiaHR0cDovL21vdG9yYmxvZ2dlci5jby51ay93cC1jb250ZW50L3dvb191cGxvYWRzLzMtTW90b3JfQmxvZ2dlcl9Mb2dvLnBuZyI7fTwvbGk+PGxpPjxzdHJvbmc+d29vX3ZpZGVvX2NhdGVnb3J5PC9zdHJvbmc+IC0gQXV0byBOZXdzPC9saT48L3VsPg==