Hiriko concept images (via MIT)
Double saving with this car! You can save money and save room. Hiriko ("of the city") is the name of the double whammy car that can not only fold itself but runs on electric. The inventor is Jose Manual Barroso who is the president of the European Commission, in Brussels. Barroso is working on the project with the Spanish government and the USA's MIT Media Lab. Their goal is to have the Hiriko on Spanish streets by 2014.
Being a folding, do not except much room. The rear wheels simply fold right under the chassis, compressing the rear section forward, folding vertically. This makes the car only two-thirds the of the floor real estate of the Smart ForTwo. In other words, it is small when parked. There is only one door to get in and out this two-seater. The last car that opened up in the front was not much of a success, let us hope for the best with this one.
Hiriko’s power comes from a four in-wheel motor. Each wheel is independently driven and is steered by the “robot” electric motor. The oddest design feature stated is the system can tug at the drivers fingers via haptic feedback in the steering wheel. Aside from the haptic traditional shaped steering wheel, a joystick control will also be an option, which is undeniably a throw-back option similar to early model automobiles.
Unfortunately, you cannot get your hands on one. Only the 20 prototypes are rolling out to street testing in various European and American cities so far. However, in 2014, expect a price tag for the EV Hiriko to be in the $16,000 range.