Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The Amazing Folding Electric Car

Did you think the Smart Car was small? Well check out this little beauty from Hiriko Driving Mobility.*

Image sourced from http://hiriko.com/what-is-the-hiriko-project

I was spending a bit of time browsing the web to find out what the latest thing in automotive engineering is… as you do, when I came across a car known as the Hiriko EV. At first glance it seemed to be a Japanese innovation – an eco-friendly electric car that… wait for it… folds! However, in spite of its slightly misleading name, it’s actually designed and manufactured in Europe – Spain in fact.

Whilst the car probably isn’t much good for motorway driving, since it’s so small and its maximum speed is a mere 31 miles per hour, it does appear to be ideal for people who simply need to get around large metropolitan areas (e.g. London, Birmingham, Cardiff, etc).

In addition to this – when it folds down it takes up a third less space than the Smart Car – a dream for anyone looking to park their car in a tight space! What is incredible about the car is the fact that it’s already small at just 100 inches, however, it can fold down further to a mere 60 inches!

The vehicle is so small it’s registered as a “quadricycle” – so in some countries it may not even require a valid driving licence. In the case of the UK it could come under the same category as a motorcycle (B1 on a driving licence) and therefore have the same vehicle tax rate as a three wheeled Robin Reliant - which is taxed at motorcycle rates, a saving of £55 per year over a standard car.

A number of participating firms are building 20 test Hiriko EV vehicles. Denokinn, the investment firm behind the venture are looking to price the car at €12,500.** Whilst this does sound expensive, especially if they are looking to go whole-sale and franchise the Hiriko EV out, it is hoped that it costs considerably less once it goes into full production… an eco-friendly car isn’t much good if it isn’t affordable, especially when you can buy a considerably cheaper second-hand vehicle that can tackle the bigger roads around Europe.

Having said that young drivers insurance would probably be far cheaper for this type of vehicle...

 What do you think? Please feel free to comment below!

*Source: http://www.hiriko.com/what-is-the-hiriko-project
**Source: http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2012/01/electric-cars?fsrc=gn_ep