Project Hiriko – A solution for urban mobility
With the success of Leaf, many car makers had followed the trend of eco-friendly cars. They are now manufacturing smaller, lighter cars and Hiriko is not an exception. European Commission President José Manuel Durao Barroso himself endorsed this electric vehicle, commenting “This is a successful example of how we can combat air pollution while taking business requirements such as city mobility into consideration”.
But what made this prototype unique is its ability to be FOLDED. Yes, that’s right, folded. It is not only eco-friendly, it’s also practical especially for countries with smaller roads like Japan and France.
Hiriko is the brainchild of the late William J. Mitchell and his Smart Cities Research Group. It was within the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that Mitchell and his team was working. The idea was adopted by an enterprise consortium in Basque, Spain where the first prototype was manufactured. Hiriko is the model of urban mobility. It was born from the purpose of providing innovative solution for faster mobility on urban places, like Spain.
This car may be small, but don’t be fooled. It has a speed of 56 miles per hour with a 75 mile range. The speed can also be reduced to a 32 miles per hour when in driving within the city. It is packed with a lithium-ion battery that can be fully charged in just fifteen minutes. Its battery is strategically placed low on the floor to make the center of gravity low.
The secret of this EV is its four “robotic wheels”. Each of these wheels is steerable and has its own engine, giving the car a zero- radius turning circle-perfect for those over- crowded city driving. Interesting to note is how it operates since it‘s only fit for two people, the stretched position of the car gives the driver and its passenger enough space. It’s only door opens in the middle. Parking is also not a problem for Hiriko which is why it is so great for urban driving. Since it is foldable, almost three of them can be fit in a single parking space. The rear wheels slide towards the front and the passenger and driver seats are tilted upward. The price for Hiriko is rumored to be $16,233.
This Hiriko Project was made from the initiative of AFYPAIDA with collaboration with DENOKINN. It hopes to open several plants this 2013 within Europe and America and plans to build 9000 more cars. No official statement has been released if this car is to be sold in United States.
Project Hiriko Video