Hiroko Folding Electric Car Hitting The Streets In 2013
The Hiriko is an electric car that folds up to reduce in length from 100 down to a mere 60 inches - the width of an ordinary car. The windshield doubles as the door. The folding allows the automobile to be reduced from an already diminutive length of 100 down to a mere 60 inches (2.5 down to 1.5 meters). The folding is carried out during parking, and doesn’t require the driver to exit the vehicle.
Better still, the Hiroko’s windshield doubles as the car door, so drivers and passengers (the car is a two-seater) can park facing the sidewalk without have to worry about chipping paint or bruising cheekbones attempting to squeeze in and out of narrow gaps.
Perhaps the key feature of the Hiriko is its “robot wheels” which allow the car to turn more or less on the spot about its center. Each integrates a motor, steering actuators, suspension and braking right inside the wheel, controlled by a drive-by-wire system. The car is entirely battery-powered with a single-charge range of 75 miles (120 km).
The Hiriko is an evolution of MIT’s CityCar project, in collaboration with Denokinn (the Basque Center for Innovation) and a consortium of Spanish business. The word Hiriko itself derives from the Basque words hiri (town or city) and kotxe (car) - so the name is in essence merely an English to Basque translation.