Hiriko, The Folding Electric Car


Cities are facing many problems, including the lack of parking spaces and air pollution. Regular electric vehicles would solve the air pollution issue, but not the parking one.

This is probably why the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) worked on a folding electric car codenamed CityCar. The result is Hiriko (“urban” in Basque language), a folding electric car that will soon be built by a consortium of Spanish and Basque companies.

The vehicle was presented officially to the press and general public by the European Commission’s President, José Manuel Durao Barroso, which touted it as an answer to the crisis.

A two-seater, the car has a 120 kilometers (75 miles) autonomy and can go to up to 50 kmph (31 mph), which is the maximum speed in many, if not most European cities. The limited range, speed and space make it an urban city vehicle only.

The Hiriko is powered by four individual in-wheel electric motors that enable the car to spin in a 360 or park easily. Both driver and passenger enter and exit the vehicle by the front.

The folding capacities and the tiny size ( just 2.5 meters (8 feet) long unfolded, under 2 meters folded ) of the car enable to park three of them once they are folded in a regular parking space.

Driving might differ from your daily experience as the official website notes that:

HIRIKO will be driven by means of a haptic steering wheel, without a steering bar, and it will be electronically managed. The joystick will be an option offered to those customers who demand it.”

Folding the car can be done by activating a command on the in-built screen of the steering wheel.

The cities of Berlin, Madrid, Malmö, Hong Kong, Quito and San Francisco will soon test these vehicles. The Huffington Post reports that talks are under way with Paris, London, Boston, Dubai and Brussels.

If all these tests are positive, you may see these cars in your city sometime in the not too distant future.

About Author

Fascinated by sustainability and cleantech since 2004, Edouard wrote both his Bachelor of Arts' dissertation and Master's thesis on sustainable energy topics. He haven't stopped writing on these subjects ever since. A French Master's graduate in international management, Edouard has had several experiences in Marketing and Communications in Europe. He worked for firms as diverse as a German water treatment company, a leading French business school and lately a Belgian automation specialist. He is currently for hire globally. Since 2007 Edouard has been selecting for his own blog the latest headlines and best researches on sustainable development, climate change, cleantech and the world energy sector. With over 1,600 published articles, he is read all over the world. On Cleantechies, Edouard has been proposing since June 2009 news articles and opinion pieces on on French and European policies. Don't hesitate to contact him as he is always interested in discussing with new people.