Skip to comments.Three to a space: the folding car
Posted on 06/25/2012 1:30:42 PM PDT by Red Badger
If you're of a certain age - or just watch a lot of Hulu or Nick at Nite - you probably remember the folding (and flying) car from "The Jetsons."
The forthcoming Hiriko Fold doesn't fly, but it does fold.
To make this work, regular controls had to be replaced with drive-by-wire, and the accelerator, steering wheel and brake are gone in favor of an aerospace-type yoke that (as in a Segway), is moved forward to move the vehicle forward, and back for reversing. Left and right are for steering.
Just like in the Jetsons' car (and the 1950s BMW Isetta), the driver climbs out through the glass canopy. It's strictly for the urban driver, with top speed of about 31 mph, and range of 75 miles on quick-recharge (15 minutes) lithium-ion batteries. Electric motors are at the car's four wheels. It can be registered as a quadricycle or motorcycle in some markets.
Electric cars are urban vehicles whose short range are well-suited for city driving. But cities don't have many split-level homes with garages - people live in tight quarters in apartments. So where's the charging going to happen? Parking garages and, to a lesser extent, pay lots, offer some kind of solution, but not everybody can afford those choices.
If you could get cars more tightly packed - three to a space, for instance - then city charge farms could work better. I've seen the concept of autonomous-driving cars dropping off their passengers, then boarding an elevator to be put away in a high rise until needed again. That works - but only if the tech does. Having the cars fold up for storage makes it work better. "A systematic solution to major societal changes," said Jose Manual Barroso, the president of the European Commission, at the time of the unveiling. You couldn't say as much for the fascinating concept at right, a folding car that looks cool but would never make it on the road.
The Fold, as it's known, has its genesis in a MIT Media Lab project sponsored by GM. Writes Steve Ashley for the BBC, "The discussion led to the concept of a small EV that could be folded and stacked in line, and shared by multiple users in urban environments in Asia, North America and Europe."
The Hiriko Driving Mobility Group, based in the Basque region of Spain, visited the MIT lab in 2009, and leveraged some Spanish government funding to produce what became the Hiriko Fold. According to Kent Larson, director of the Media Lab's Changing Places Group, everything is a tight fit. "It's designed more like an iPhone than a tower computer," he told Ashley.
The Fold is going into production in Europe next year, priced around $16,400. Trucks and convertibles are envisioned.
I’d rather ride a bicycle than drive that thing.
Can’t wait to see the front collision tests...
The front door seems like a bad idea.
I don’t see why they couldn’t use standard doors.
The idea is kinda interesting, even if it doesn’t really “fold” in the traditional sense.
I also don’t understand the reason for the gimmickry. You could easily do the same thing with a standard FWD vehicle with stock controls if you used flexible brake lines or some sort of separate rear brake module.
And what happens to all that loose change?
That has to be the most idiotic thing I’ve seen today...and I saw the SCOTUS decision on AZ.
Just imagine how fun it will be to get in even the smallest accident and have your car fold up around you.
Maybe they should name it the 'Darwin'.
I’d hit it.
Comes with detachable handles, so it can double as a coffin.............
Top Gear... Jeremy (who is 6’5).. The peel 50..
As to the car in question.. It’s not a car, they say as much. It’s a motorized bike. That way they can get around crash tests. It does not even have air bags that are required in a “car”.
I used to think the smart car was some joke. Check this out...
ya it takes the hit well...
Now.. how bout the human in the drivers seat? we don’t respond as well to sudden stops.
To add to that. I wouldn’t buy a smart car. But it is more safe than most suv’s. Just stating what I have learned about that pos. I defend its safety for its size.. remarkable..
...worth a thousand words...
That’s my rebuttal also. Same with any car at 70-0...
I can’t see how the smart car is safer than a truck with room to crumple and absorb some of the energy of the collision.
The smart car just transfers that energy to the human(s) strapped in the seats.
No steering wheel?
Must have been inspired by the Chevy Cruze, whose steering wheel falls off.
Does it burst into flames as well?
Interior heating is an option.........................
I get your point. That is mine also. But what I’ve read, the “crunch factor” isn’t what we think. But I agree. I will side with physics. I think the smart car has been held to a higher scrutiny if you will. The thing is a rolling air bag..
Is the Spontaneous Combustion Engine standard or optional?
Don’t leave an open soda in the cup holder when parking.
It’s all electric, so there are four of them, one in each wheel..............That would be two at your feet and one for each butt cheek........................
I currently have a little Toyota Yaris. I love the gas mileage and how I can easily zip in and out of tight parking spaces and the thing is actually quite peppy on the highway and with the back seats folded down, has a good amount of cargo space. OTOH, I still really miss my SUV.
In Europe a lot of cities no longer allow trucks inside the city limits that are not licensed light commercial delivery vehicles. Articulated lorries are almost completely banned during the day, in addition commuter charges to enter the central district are based on car class with class D and E being upwards of 20 euro a day plus parking that runs in the 40's of euro's per DAY. A Class D car is a 3 series BMW and a E is a 5 series what we would consider a medium sized car. SUV's as the euro's call them special purpose vehicles are simply banned from entering or the commuter charge is so high that only the very very wealthy can afford to enter. These little cars are perfect for the tight streets of Europe where parking is also almost nonexistent these being also electric saves massively on the pollution charges that ICE vehicles must pay in the eurozone as well. Electricity is 6 times cheaper per mile than petrol so much so that Nissan is demoing electric taxis in London under the badges of 6x cheaper. Being electric also exempts these cars from the commuter charges to enter the city as well the pay back period for a 16K car would be a few years. If one lived in the central district you would not need any other car to putt putt around the city core. Asian cities also are built not for car culture but mass transit and bikes or 3 wheelers these little cars would cut the pollution from the dirty 2 cycle 3 wheelers while offering protection from the elements and climate controlled travels.
Americans are spoiled rotten by cheap petrol and even cheaper road fees if those even exist. A lot of US cities are looking east at the success of the Euro's in ridding the central cities of choking petrol fumes, traffic and nonessential congestion. Road tariffs to enter the central zone are brilliantly effective in limiting the number of trips and vehicles into the protected areas, giving the lower class masses little compact cars that do not pollute the air nor pose a danger to pedestrian or bikers in the central districts would save many lives and ultemently the users money as electrics are 6 times less per mile to run in Europe compared to petrol. All it takes is getting the SUV and non commercial trucks out of the protected areas and only allowing limited Class C,D&E sized vehicles to enter during peak hours tariffs are the most effective means of achieving these goals.
Isetta had a better idea 60 years ago.
by the time the U.S. “Americans With Disabilities Act” is invoked by the EPA, Energy Dept., Transportation Dept., et al, the “improvements” to the vehicle so that it is “handicap accessible” will mean that it will never be sold “as is” in the U.S.
another mind game selling the ideas of “collective” transportation solutions, needed ONLY if the premise that massive large and congested cities is a social good to begin with (which I believe it is not) and therefor deserving of government intervention and subsidy (not) to help push the limits if the ant piles even further
at a time when energy and communication revolutions will make massive human congestion less necessary for business and industry, not more
Just about enough room for the reversed impression “KENWORTH” to be stamped in the folded remains.
That would be a great thing to take to the store for a six-pack!
Cutest lil’ coffin I’ve ever seen.
I can just imagine Lindsay Lohan getting out of that car in a short skirt (or maybe not Lindsay, but if Kate Beckinsale buys one......)
What you call success in Europe I call a limitation of freedoms in the states.
Paying a toll to use a road already paid for by fuel taxes is also a limitation of freedom.
Europe can limit road use all they want, and charge what ever fees they want.
I could give to poops what they pay for a gallon of fuel there. Here in the USA we have tons of it, and it can be cheap.
The USA is NOT Europe nor are we packed up as tight as Europe.
Last week I drove 2900 miles in a standard comfortable mini-van with the AC blasting. It could go 400 miles on a 5 minute fueling. It had to stop more often for the young riders to “potty”.
I could not even get my family of 4 in to a smart car or this motorized bicycle let alone all or gear for camping.
How does she move the pedals up and down without her knees hitting the steering wheel?
I’m not sure, but I’d love for her to let me examine the situation.....
When I was there we built these:
If you need a helper, I volunteer.
Now THAT is Gay in a Golf Cart. It couldn’t be more gay if they named it the Gay Gayerson Eggmobile.