Anyone who has ever attempted to find a parking spot in San Francisco during peak hours can tell you that a small car is your friend. And it doesn’t get much friendlier than the new Hiriko Fold, a car that slaughters any potential parking woes.
Unfolded, the entire vehicle is only 2.5m long. However, the parking genius comes in the Fold’s ability to compress to a length that can accommodate three vehicles in a standard parking spot. It is able to compress itself thanks to a front chassis that pivots to become vertical. Entry and exit of the vehicle takes place through a large front panel door, which allows the driver and passenger to step out of the vehicle’s “face.” Each wheel can be controlled independently, allowing for a staggering turning radius and seamless parallel parking in tight spaces.
As a tiny car fanatic, I was initially ecstatic to see the shrinkable shape of the Fold. However, the more I inspect the vehicle, the more concerned I become. The Fold is also 100-percent electric with a range of 120km. That is just over the distance it would take to go from Palo Alto to San Francisco and back. Additionally, I am extremely interested to see how the car performs in a head-on collision, especially considering that the only exit is through the front.
The Hiriko Fold is currently being tested in Spain and will be available in Europe in 2012 for 12,500 euros ($15,660). The vehicles are also being considered for ride-sharing similar to the bicycle program currently available in Spain and elsewhere in Europe.
I liked the video. The car spinning in place reminded me of a helicopter. The crash worthiness is really going to be the key. The concern stems from two area. One is the size, the second is the battery.
There was an article in an English language paper in China with an article about an electric taxi, made in China, that burst into flames right after being hit by a car. The driver and the two passengers were burned within seconds. In the US there is much more extensive crash testing (remember the Cehvy Volt that had a problem weeks after a crash test?).
The other fact is that smaller cars do not do well in crashes. Some friends of ours described how their daughter had an accident in a smaller (but not tiny) car vs. a medium size SUV. The smaller car was totaled. So, it is important to see those crash tests before buying such a vehicle.
In addition, the price seems high for what you get.
I disagree. The price seems reasonable for this stage of development. Smaller cars are just starting to see a resurgence in popularity. Batteries are improving-albeit slowly.
As a San Franciscan, I say driving skills surpass any size issues. Not having an accident is best. Driving oversized cars with the "at least I'm safe" attitude is dangerous for everyone.
I'm sure the electric taxi in China had real issues that had nothing to do with size.
Newer driving skills are needed for quieter cars and smaller cars. We don't realize how dependent our driving skills are on the loud motor or large presence. I'd like to see new driver's tests for anyone buying a smaller car-similar to motorcycle license testing.
It looks intersting, but all of the small cars follow the same design base. It would be good to see something really new. I'm just not Wowed.
I think this is a great idea, of course you have to pick the right tool for the job. I drive a motorcycle to work everyday, so I'm not so sure that I would be opposed to having a car like this. Of course, I don't drive my Sportster on the highway either, even though some idiot may pull out on me one day and kill me on my 5 mile commute through town. Of course the speeds are slower in town, but it is still dangerous. I would actually feel safer in this car than on my motorcycle. I have had many cars, most of them smaller. SUVs have their place, and I have owned one of them too, I used it to tow my boat. This car would not be good for towing a boat, but that is not why they designed it. In China, they promote smaller cars, and the small cars are very popular. The way we promote bigger cars and speed (bigger is better) is why that mentality dominates here in the US. We need to change our way of thinking, and realize that there is an application for vehicles of every size, and choose our choice of transportation to fit the application. For commuting to work, an SUV is, < over engineering > the problem to detriment.
ChasCahs and Tcrook, crash worthiness does matter. In fact, it is the most important thing we can look at. The fact is that automobile deaths far ourtweigh ALL other forms of accidential death, and things such as gun violence, by a very large number. I have had two accidents in a long career of driving. Both were caused by mechanical failures. The last one, where my car, a larger sedan, was hit by an SUV after going out of control resulted in both drivers walking away with nothing more than a small bruise becuase they were new cars that had lots of safety features. Both were totaled. Frankly, they probably could have been fixed, but it would cost more than the insured value of the vehicles.
I have also had motorcycles and small sports cars. They are fun, but the danger factor is always there.
14 years ago on the school bus from my high school, I overheard some boys lusting over SUVs parked at the nearby parking lot; their first comments were how safe they would be compared to other cars. Since when do high school boys care about safety? As a society we are too paranoid about car safety. Why is this our societies first concern?
Those same boys smoked, drank, generally practiced unsafe behaviors, and one of them was very obese. So, those boys were a lot more likely to be injured or die from their other choices than from driving an unsafe car, yet that was their concern. Our society is obese which we all know increases our chances of having a stroke or heart attack. In fact chances of dying from stroke or heart attack are significantly higher than being killed in a vehicle accident. Why aren't more people concerned about their diets and activity levels rather than about car safety. Where is the consistency?
By the way when I was on the bus, I was drooling over the crotch rocket parked two bays down. Now I drive a motorcycle, bicycle, and a compact car.
Crash worthy is just a fad with political influence. People don't care that much about safety, otherwise, they would all be rushing to buy Volvo, Saab and Subaru. But none of those companies are that big.
Saab had such a strong roof that they don't even need roll cage for racing. Subaru is similar, and they did it with great visibility. Yet people didn't care. People don't even care that they can't really see out the back of their car because of the high waistline "styling". That is safety right there. They rather have a status car. Is nice to talk about crash worthy, but is just after the fact to justify the purchase of another car.
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