One very unusual electric car has debuted in Brussels. The Hiriko EV uses a hub-mounted electric motor at each wheel, though that's not the most interesting aspect of the vehicle. According to The Telegraph, the Hiriko uses an interesting rear suspension design that allows the vehicle to fold up, rotating the cabin vertically, to take up less space while parking. The partnership behind the vehicle say the car consumes approximately one third the parking space of a Smart ForTwo. Occupants enter from a single front door, and the Hiriko ditches the traditional steering wheel in favor of a joystick.

The vehicle is set to begin production in Spain next year, and the partnership behind the vehicle's development aims to use several European and American cities as testbeds for the bubble machine. The two-seater has been co-developed by a collection of Basque businesses, the Spanish government and the MIT media lab (you may remember the concept, from 2007). A total of 20 test vehicles are currently being built, and each vehicle is said to cost $16,253 to manufacture. No final price tag has been set, nor are there solid details on range, power or charge times.


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  • 86 Comments
      mawhalen53
      • 3 Years Ago
      I worked on the CityCar while I was at MIT, I wondered what had happened to it. Very excited to see that it's still rolling along. The article doesn't do much for the explanation, but this vehicle is designed for urban use only, at speeds that aren't going to exceed 35 MPH. This low speed obviously lends itself to crash protection, electric range, etc. I don't know if all the same features are being carried over for full-size production, but previously the vehicle had 4 in-wheel drive and steering motors, which open each wheel up to 120 degrees of rotation. The car can translate sideways into parking spots, perform zero-radius turns, things like that. With no driveline the chassis can be essentially a 4-bar mechanism and fold when parking. The vehicle was also designed with a ride-sharing/rental program similar to bike-sharing programs in mind: a customer would be a member of the program (sort of like Zipcar), swipe their card, and use this vehicle. Pricing incentives prevent a certain station from becoming overloaded with vehicles. I'll stop here, but just wanted to share some more details for those interested. Also, this render is quite old... I worked on this car in the summer of 2008 and the design in the photo was outdated even while I was there.
      Kevin Hooker
      • 3 Years Ago
      Crumple zones? We don't need no stinking crumple zones!
      Jeff Tripp
      • 3 Years Ago
      It sounds like the rear suspension IS the crumple zone! lol
      WheelsNeedDeals
      • 3 Years Ago
      Are they going to sell these cars in packs of 3? Because 1 fender bender and you can say goodbye to the car
        Gubbins
        • 3 Years Ago
        @WheelsNeedDeals
        I was thinking the same thing---does it fold up as easily when hit?
      stevendy1
      • 3 Years Ago
      $ 16,000 ??? for this??? hows about $ 4-5,000 TOPS !!
        • 3 Years Ago
        @stevendy1
        [blocked]
      arenadood
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wondering if it comes with an optional key to wind it up.
      Rob
      • 3 Years Ago
      Folds up so it takes less parking space yet the passenger entrance is the front of the car. Wha?
        tstackable
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Rob
        Yeah, & if it folds up to fast it becomes an ejection seat for the driver. LOL
      Darrell
      • 3 Years Ago
      No Way I would buy or be given to me. Sell it as a toy!
        haroldlynn
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Darrell
        Who you trying to fool? I've read some of your blogs. You'd take anything for free.
      ffjjackson
      • 3 Years Ago
      Does it fold into a briefcase like George Jetson's car?
      sc0rch3d
      • 3 Years Ago
      i dunno about you, but that background was freaking me out. my brain couldn't get wrapped around the fact that it had nothing to do with the car.
      haroldlynn
      • 3 Years Ago
      You think you might want to show one folded up?
      cashsixeight
      • 3 Years Ago
      Single front door? What a good idea! It's not like being in an accident would cause any problems.
        willyk52
        • 3 Years Ago
        @cashsixeight
        http://www.etsav.upc.edu/locus/outputs/accessibility/technologies/AEVehicle/Isetta/gran/i01.html 1957 bmw isetta with single front door (converted to electric ?)
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