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.
This story was originally posted by EE Times.