I love two-seater electric microcars meant for city traffic—they’re efficient, adorable, and emissions-free. I’m quite happy to say that another one was unveiled in Brussels this week. The Hiriko is a tiny (and super cute) electric prototype with a little bit of a twist—the little city car can actually be folded to reach a length of just 59” while parked.
What Do You Mean, No Parking Spaces
Anyone who’s ever driven anywhere in a major city has had trouble finding a parking spot; the bigger the car, the worse it is. (It doesn’t help if you, like me, aren’t particularly good at parallel parking to begin with.) The Hiriko solves that problem pretty handily with its nifty little folding feature—at less than five feet long, it can fit into a space half the size even a compact car needs. Check out the picture to see how the folding works: To get in and out of the microcar, the driver can fold up the windshield to climb in and out the front in a move reminiscent of the Italian Isetta. Pushing the four-wheel-drive car to a maximum speed of 59 mph are four electric motors. There’s no word on what the range is yet, but the Hiriko isn’t exactly expensive for an EV; it’s supposed to hit the market at the end of next year for $16,500 USD.
Public Support Goes A Long Way
The Hiriko prototype was funded by the EU, then designed and built by a consortium in the Basque country of Spain. EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso endorsed the car at its unveiling, as reported by Auto Motor und Sport:
“This is a successful example of how to combat air pollution while taking business requirements such as city mobility into consideration.”
The companies in the consortium, for the curious, include Guardian (glass components), Maser-MIC (electronics), Forging Products (chassis), TMA (structure and front door), Sapa Placencia (drive by wire system and steering wheel), Ingeinnova (providing the assembly plant), and Basque Robot Wheels (wheels, of course).
More information is available at the Hiriko Project.
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Source: Auto Motor und Sport | Images: Hiriko Project.
Charis Michelsen spent 7 years living in Germany and Japan, studying both languages extensively, doing translation and education with companies like Bosch, Nissin, Fuji Heavy, and others. Charis has a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and currently lives in Chicago, Illinois. She also believes that Janeway was the best Star Trek Captain.