The clever little city car that folds up like a pram, can park sideways, and the call-out recharging scheme that could wet your appetite.
On the day before yesterday, a Spanish group unveiled a remarkable and truly tiny eco-friendly vehicle ideal for city dwellers, in the shape of a revolutionary fold-up car designed in the Basque region. Seen by the creators as a neat answer to urban stress and pollution, it should be available for sale in European within 18 months.
Dubbed Hiriko – Basque word for urban – this mini smart-car is an electric two-seater without doors, motor located within the wheels and capable of being folded like a collapsible stroller for easier parking options.
Boston’s MIT-Media laboratory conceived this clever concept, which was taken through to development by seven small Basque firms, working together as Hiriko Driving Mobility, the stunning prototype unveiled by Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, who climbed into the amazing little – Only 5ft long – car through the fold-up front windscreen.
Consortium spokesman Gorka Espiau commented that a number of European cities are interested in assembling the Hirokos – with a 75 mile range off a full charge, speeds electronically set to respect the city speed limits wherever used. The makers see this car as city-owned in the main, being hired out just like the fleets of for-hire bicycles available in many European cities.
Each vehicle will cost around 12,500 euros, and can be purchased by members of the public, who will love the fact that all four wheels on the Hiroko turn at right angles to facilitate sideways parking in the tightest of spaces on city streets. Berlin, Barcelona, San Francisco, Hong Kong, as well as Paris, London, Boston, Dubai and Brussels have all expressed an interest.
Backers of the innovative design coup describe the Hiriko as offering a systematic solution to major challenges such as urban transportation and pollution reduction. But what, you might ask, if I run out of charge suddenly, the question that makes many would-be buyers think twice about electric cars.
Nissan is working In partnership with the Japan Automobile Federation, testing roadside service vehicles designed specifically for the recharging of stranded electric vehicles. In this way they will be bringing the charging architecture of motoring to the consumer, in the form of a call-out to something like the AA.
Should you be an electric car owner, you could buy an annual membership, allowing you to call for help with both flat tires and dead batteries, the service vehicles equipped to recharge those batteries in a very short space of time. If the idea catches on, which seems highly likely, then you might feel more inclined to go for an all-electric car, that emergency recharges were but a telephone call away.