Here is a prelude to what could very well be a future that sees Transformers-like vehicles roam our roads, although we will not be having robots rampaging through our streets anytime soon. Spain intends to produce an electric car known as the Hiriko (“urban car” in Basque) which is already small, being roughly the same size as a Smart, but it goes one step further by collapsing itself into an even smaller footprint whenever you parked. The brainchild of researchers over at the MIT Media Lab, Hiriko was specially designed to address increasingly congested urban centers, where looking for parking is a challenge. Having said that, such a small vehicle that seats just two takes up more space than a motorbike, and yet carries the same amount of people – which is rather pointless, unless it is raining, of course, but even so that is a situation that cannot be rescued with but a poncho.
The 100″ Hiriko is so compact due to the integration of its electric motors, steering, and brakes in the wheels themselves. All of its systems are all digitally managed with a drive-by-wire system, and the lithium-ion batteries which power the Hiriko are housed in the vehicle’s floor. When folded, the length is reduced to a mere 60″, making it comparable to the width of a standard car – fitting in a trio of Hirikos in a single parking space. Expect the Hiriko to hit the market for approximately $16,350. Would you get a souped up motorbike at that price instead?