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Folding Car Is the Ultimate City Vehicle

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naperlou
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Nice, but...
naperlou   8/29/2012 8:38:41 AM
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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.

NadineJ
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Re: Nice, but...
NadineJ   8/29/2012 12:43:25 PM
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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.

akwaman
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Size always a problem for some, not as much for others.
akwaman   8/29/2012 1:50:32 PM
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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. 

Charles Murray
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Re: Nice, but...
Charles Murray   8/29/2012 5:18:28 PM
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Amazing, clever technology. Cool video. I do wonder, though, how long is it in its folded state?

gsmith120
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Re: Nice, but...
gsmith120   8/31/2012 2:51:00 PM
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It is a cute car but wouldn't buy or ride in one.  Can't remember the exact name but BMW had a little car like that one, where you got in/out thru the front of the car.  Saw one in Ann Arbor MI last year can't find pic otherwise would share it. Also, one appeared on in a storage locker on Storage Wars.

Tcrook
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Re: Nice, but...
Tcrook   8/30/2012 9:23:27 AM
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Why does this always end up in the crazy 'crashworty' discussion? If that's your criteria, then crash tests must always be done as vehicle X vs Semi Truck ond only the winner is 'Safe'.

ChasChas
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Re: Nice, but...
ChasChas   8/30/2012 10:11:23 AM
 

Crashworthy? Nothing is worth crashing. Should we drive planning to crash? I have years and years and 100's of thousands of miles on motorcycles and know hundreds of others of the same.

Some have died, yes. So have some of my auto-borne friends. We should live our lives prepared to die, because you can't stop it when the time comes - driving this car or not.

 

naperlou
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Re: Nice, but...
naperlou   8/30/2012 10:22:29 AM
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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. 

Tcrook
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Re: Nice, but...
Tcrook   8/30/2012 12:18:38 PM
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Naperlou,  In car design, safety is as important as YOU want it to be.   And, as important is I want it to be.  Just make it a CHOICE and we'll all be happy.  As far as the design under discussion is concerned, I think its a bit gimicky and I'll be amazed if it appears on the market here.  But I dearly want small, light, efficient, and Fun car designs to be available.

Island_Al
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Re: Nice, but...
Island_Al   8/30/2012 7:50:35 PM
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I agree.  We as free people should make our own choices. If it were up to me, as an option, I would not buy airbags, the third (tail light) eye, ON Star, backup video camera, padded dash, nor low impact bumpers.  I would however buy seat belts.

But I get no choice. I MUST purchase these things because my betters have mandated it so.

I drove Corvettes for years in Colorado with no insurance beyond liability. This drove my insurance agent nuts. I was willing to risk both my driving and the other drivers skills to keep these hotrods from getting torn up.  I also drove custom bikes I built for myself, including the springer front ends that had no front wheel brakes.  Maybe today they would not let me title homebuilts do to safety.

If we demand highway safety and reduce deaths, lets make everyone wear helmets and set the max speed limit to 10mph!

benmlee2
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Re: Nice, but...
benmlee2   8/30/2012 11:08:08 AM
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.

VadimR
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Re: Nice, but...
VadimR   8/30/2012 10:38:11 AM
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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.

NiteOwl_OvO
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Re: Nice, but...
NiteOwl_OvO   8/30/2012 1:35:40 PM
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Obesity, alcoholism and smoking may shorten your life down the road, but an unsafe car can kill you at any time. It's pretty much a given that each one of us will be involved in at least 2 serious car accidents during our lives assuming the first one doesn't kill us. So far, I've been a passenger in two such accidents and a driver in two. Only one was ruled my fault for being in the way. The worst injury I received was a stiff neck and a knot on my head. I wasn't just lucky, I was in safe cars.

AJ2X
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Re: Nice, but...
AJ2X   8/30/2012 12:00:57 PM
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The author's concern about no secondary means of exit in this front door-only vehicle is valid.  The only previous production car with this kind of door arrangement -- the 1950's Isetta (designed by Iso, & built by BMW and others) -- had a sunroof as standard for that reason.  This car looks like a (fairly successful) design exercise to me, rather than a serious vehicle; the door is unwieldy for people to enter & exit (its primary function!), and its large size & weight mean that probably needs power assist just to open.  While the independently-steered wheels are amusing, and DO provide the ability to get into tiny parking places, learning to use that function (and avoid abusing it) will take some training.  Clearly this vehicle is not created for general use, particularly in the US.  But it IS fun to see some different designs in small cars again.

notarboca
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Re: Nice, but...
notarboca   8/31/2012 1:44:53 AM
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I like the design; it seems "cool" and functional.  The safety concerns over front end collisions do dampen my enthusiam.

PizzaEater
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Silver
Gull wing door, just like the 1954 MB 300SL, sort of
PizzaEater   8/30/2012 10:43:57 AM
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This looks like a good idea but they just copied the old Peel P50.  Watch Top Gear UK Series 10 Episode 3 for some of the hilarity of driving a front doored car.

Also, you can fit three of these in a regular parking spot?  But you can't get in the vehicle, nor get the middle one out. 

Is it just the fish-eye lens, or does the A-pillar sit in your forward field of view?

 

jhankwitz
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Hot Isetta
jhankwitz   8/30/2012 3:06:48 PM
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This brings back memories of my old Isetta, only it's a lot bigger.  With all that glass, I wonder what it's mileage is when using the heater and air conditioner. It doesn't appear that the windows open.

Bill S.
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Iron
Practical? I wonder.
Bill S.   8/30/2012 3:41:20 PM
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A car like this is probably dangerous in an accident situation and probably not useful for 30+ mile/hr speeds or driving in the country over rural roads. Also, how good is it on icy roads or on plowed snow? Obviously this kind of car is meant for city dwellers in warmer climates where snow and ice is no problem. But If I lived in a city I would use a bicycle instead and save the cost of parking, fuel, licensing and insurance. For infrequent use, it may also be more cost effective to rent a car than to own and maintain one in many of our larger cities

N. Christopher Perry
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What would Jeremy say?
N. Christopher Perry   8/31/2012 2:50:53 PM
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I'd love to see how the guys on Top Gear UK react to this thing?

 

I'm somewhat ambivalent.  I've managed to set up my life so I can walk to work, so this car isn't terribly compelling in my case.

William K.
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Platinum
A folding car?
William K.   8/31/2012 10:18:37 PM
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This is an interesting vehicle, and it could solve a few problems both in parking and on crowded roads. In fact, the reduction in roadway crowding could be the more useful benefit. But it probably can't be sold here in anything like it's present form, because of safety issues. That is not to be critical, but I see it as a sda fact. I have seen quite a few drivers who should be restricted to small cars that don't offer much protection, because it might help them focus on driving more carefully. Lack of armor does make some people more attentive.  So the little car might even makeour roads safer

embeddeddesigner
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Folding Car Is the Ultimate City Vehicle
embeddeddesigner   9/1/2012 9:34:02 AM
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The front-opening car made by BMW during the reconstruction era WAS the Isetta:

- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isetta

I remember seeing them in the US in my childhood.

From what I have read, the driver was extremely vulnerable to head-on collisions. Most fatalities occured because the driver bled to death before he could be extricated from the car (This was before the jaws of lilfe).

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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And now here's something I hope you'll really like:
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   9/4/2012 1:05:02 PM
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Hey Rocky! Lots of really good banter on both sides of the Safety/Crash-worth discussion. But to a completely different issue, that of getting into and out of tight parking spaces,  this car not only FOLDS, but all 4 wheels turn sharply, as it literally spins out of the parking space. Very unique, and impressive.

For a fun look at 60 year old technology that did something similar – check out this Cadillac video ---  Just for fun.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLSX1zbR2zI

bobjengr
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FOLDING CAR
bobjengr   9/4/2012 6:05:36 PM
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I will say one thing-- This is thinking outside the box.  I generally hate that phrase but I certainly feel it applies here.  No way would I take this car on the Interstate.  I do believe it might be OK for around town, provided defensive driving was practiced.  Can anyone tell me if it has air bags?  I suspect seat belts yes--air bags no?????  I would imagine great difficulty in trying to get this vehicle approved for sale in the US.

 

skywirelynx
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Too slow for US markets?
skywirelynx   9/12/2012 1:42:13 PM
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This car looks cool, and would be fun to drive I think. However, as currently configured, I think it is too slow for even urban use in the US. According to the specifications listed (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiriko#Specifications) in the Hiriko page of Wikipedia, it's limited to a top speed of 31 mph (50 kph). In the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex there are many streets within the urban commute that have 35 or 40 mph speed limits and traffic travels at least that fast except during rush hour (or when a police vehicle is pacing the "pack" - yeah, you know what I mean). I honestly don't know where one could practically use this car in the US. 

agriego
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Re: Too slow for US markets?
agriego   9/17/2012 3:37:34 PM
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I suppose you could drive it around a country club or retirement village. With a top speed of 31 mph, it's just about useless for driving it around a city.

Just my $.02

Tool_maker
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Re: Too slow for US markets?
Tool_maker   9/20/2012 1:06:28 PM
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  I did notice the only other vehicles in this video are bicycles. That is the only thing I would share a road with in one of these things. It is a toy, pure and simple and to those people who think safety is no issue, check with your insurance carrier. This thing looks like a cute little coffin on wheels and I would not be caught dead in one, for fear that I would become dead in one.

  To those who compared this to a motorcycle I could not disagree more. When I rode I always felt one of the things  that helped keep me safe was the ability to see 360 degrees and the natural alertness that come with being exposed. I also had the ability to accelerate instantly if the need arose. I see none of those features in this vehicle.

  Lastly, I wonder what would occur if this thing got pinned between two vehicles in a collision. Is safety my only concern? Of course not, but it has to be a deal breaker for all but the careless single rich guy without responsibility.

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