The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a bastion of creative thinkers and inventors. If you’ve never been to the campus in Boston, it doesn’t have the charm of a Harvard but the cerebral energy inside its walls makes up for the lack of a leafy, ivy-covered setting. Among the many projects that I often talk about coming out of MIT is Hiriko, a new concept in urban mobility. Hiriko, means “urban car” in the Basque language. Why Basque? Because a Basque venture capital company is bankrolling Hiriko’s entry into the world market.
View the video to see just how versatile this new two-passenger car is. Initial release is planned for Europe in 2013. Hiriko has a bit of resemblance to the Mercedes Smart Car but is totally electric. Motor, suspension, steering and braking are fully integrated in each wheel rather than from a centralized system. Hiriko advantages include:
- It can be folded to make it fit into a 150 centimeter (60 inch) space. In fact 3 Hiriko vehicles can park where one average car parks today, ideal for city use.
- It has maneuverability unseen in any other vehicle. You can spin it around its own centre.
- Its decentralized, modular design makes it simple to manufacture and assemble almost anywhere.
The range of the current model is 120 kilometers (75 miles) between charges. The power supply is lithium-ion. Initial sales are to car-sharing programs with Berlin, Barcelona and Hong Kong taking first delivery in 2013. In the United States, expect to see the Hiriko in 2013 on the streets of San Francisco. Cost , 12,500 Euros or about $16,000 U.S. if you want to order one of these for personal use.