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The Folding EV, Hiriko Headed for Production
01 February 2012 - One very unusual electric car has debuted in Brussels. The Hiriko EV uses a hub-mounted electric motor at each wheel, though that's not the most interesting aspect of the vehicle. According to The Telegraph, the Hiriko uses an interesting rear suspension design that allows the vehicle to fold up, rotating the cabin vertically, to take up less space while parking.
This little two-seat vehicle is the product of a partnership between Basque businesses, Spanish government and the US's MIT Media Lab. Occupants enter from a single front door, and the Hiriko ditches the traditional steering wheel in favor of a joystick.
The vehicle is set to begin production in Spain next year, and the partnership behind the vehicle's development aims to use several European and American cities as testbeds for the bubble machine. The two-seater has been co-developed by a collection of Basque businesses, the Spanish government and the MIT media lab.
Hiriko intends to franchise its production model to enable the vehicles to be locally and sustainably produced by a number of consortia in different markets. The EV, to be built in Vitoria-Gasteiz, will be targeted particularly at large cities, in which it will be available for rental. For now, a total of 20 test vehicles are currently being built, and each vehicle is said to cost $16,253 to manufacture. No final price tag has been set, nor are there solid details on range, power or charge times but with the expectation that it will enter the market sometime in 2013.