#1 cleantech news, reviews, & analysis site in the world. Subscribe today. The future is now.


Published on January 28th, 2012 | by Charis Michelsen


The Hiriko Project Presents a Foldable Electric Microcar

January 28th, 2012 by  

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.

Questions or comments? Let us know below.

Source: Auto Motor und Sport | Images: Hiriko Project.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author

spent 7 years living in Germany and Japan, studying both languages extensively, doing translation and education with companies like Bosch, Nissan, 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.

  • Greg

    It is a start in the right direction,I like it.

  • Tom G.

    And Zachary comes to the rescue with the needed information again. You are really on the ball and do a very good job of monitoring postings.

    Must be about time to update your photo. Professionals such as yourself probably need the shirt and tie or sports jacket look. It’s not that you need the look but rather you deserve it as a reward for your efforts.

    • Haha, thanks. 😀

      Feel like it takes me too long to get to comments, but I’m not a robot and guess my standards are too high.

      Yeah, should probably update the photo… someday 😀

  • Tom G.

    p.s. clicked on the “Visit Authors Website” and it took me to some inactive page and when I Google her name it took me to some actresses website.

    Of course the author could also be the actress. Yes and Janeway was excellent.

  • Tom G.

    Ah yes, the “MIT City Car” finally hits the streets. Too bad it could not have been built right here in the U.S.

    Hopefully someday there will be a 2 wheel drive model [stationary rear hub motors] for seniors who need to get around town. The raising seating area makes entry and exit from the vehicle very easy.

    Hope to see one in the showroom soon.

Back to Top ↑