This innovative little microcar is called the Hiriko – it’s small, has no doors, folds-up when not in use and looks like something right out of a science fiction movie. In reality, it’s been in the concept stage as the “CityCar” for nearly a decade. The car, which is the brainchild of the engineers and scientists at MIT-Media Lab, a division of MIT, is now slated to go into production in 2013 in Europe, and sometime later in the United States, by the European technology consortium, Urban. Production of the tiny electric vehicle is anticipated to reach an estimated 9,000 units by 2015.
The Hiriko microcar was designed to reduce traffic congestion and space concerns in major metropolitan areas. According to European Commission President José Manuel Durao Barroso “Hiriko is an answer to the crisis,” an urban population crisis that will see more than half the world’s population residing in cities by 2050 (a 70% increase). Barroso and experts from the European Commission imagine having Hiriko ‘fleets’ owned by cities, where the cars will be readily available and easily rented, much like bikes are in many cities today. Purchasing the car will also be another option and it will cost about $16,500.
Though very small, the Hiriko may have big implications in terms of urban mobility; it is so small that 3 of the microcars can fit in a single, typical car’s parking spot. The Hiriko is a four wheel drive, two-seater that reaches speeds up to 59 mph and will be electronically programmed to abide by city-specific speed limits. The car is powered by electricity and has a range of 75 miles. The car’s robot wheels can spin the car 80 degrees allowing to be parked straight to the curb, so hapless drivers everywhere can rejoice!
Take a look at the video produced by MIT to see why the Hiriko could be changing the way you commute.
Related: more electric vehicle featured on The Alternative Consumer