Posts Tagged ‘Hiriko Driving Mobility’
SEOUL, South Korea – The new buzz in South Korea’s car industry is a micro electric car that folds in half and parks itself by a remote control app on your smartphone.
“We see cars as a complicated machine. But it is now time to start thinking new. Cars will be handy and convenient in the future. In other words, it will be more of a consumer electronic product,” said Suh In-Soo, a professor at the Graduate School for Green Transportation at KAIST who led the project.
The Armadillo-T, named after its design for its rear looks like a South American armadillo shell, shrinks from 110 inches to 70 inches. The rear shell kicks upward covering over the front, taking up only one-third of a typical Korean parking space. The micro car has a maximum speed of 37 mph and can travel 62 miles off a 10-minute fast charge.
“At first, I thought it was a toy. But the best part about it is that it’s environmentally efficient and could save a lot of space,” said Lee Chanhee, a student at a recent Korea Automotive Industry Exhibition of the Armadillo-T near Seoul.
Suh’s team started the project three years ago, inspired by the MIT CityCar, an electric concept car designed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab. A Spanish consortium, Hiriko Driving Mobility, has begun a commercialized version of the CityCar in Vitoria-Gasteiz, as part of a car-sharing program last year. A foldable version, Hiriko Fold, is in trial service in Berlin, Germany, run by Deutsche Bahn.
An electric car that folds up like a child’s stroller for easy parking?
The “Hiriko”, (the Basque word for “urban”), will begin hitting European cities next year. Originally conceived by Boston’s MIT’s Media Lab and developed by a consortium of seven small Basque firms under the name Hiriko Driving Mobility, the Hiriko seats 2 adults and has its motor located in the wheels. Without being recharged, the Hiriko can go 75 miles, and its speed can be electronically set to respect city limits. Starting at around $16,400, its four wheels turn at right angles to facilitate sideways parking in tight spaces.