Hiriko Electric Car: Clean, Green, Out-Parks Smarts

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When Smart launched its ForTwo over a decade ago in Europe, the company heavily played the car's ability to park nose-on to a curb, thanks to its short length.

Parking a Smart is hardly difficult anyway, but in crowded cities like Paris, Rome or Madrid, every inch helps.

Still, that perpendicular parking looks pathetic next to the Hiriko electric car (via The Verge), a prototype vehicle from MIT Media Lab.

The Hiriko's party trick is an ability to hinge in the middle, reducing the car from roughly the length of a Smart ForTwo, to around two-thirds that length. You could fit as many as three Hirikos in the space of a normal car.

It seats two passengers, and befitting its city roots uses electric in-wheel motors for quiet, emissions-free transportation. The batteries hold enough charge for a 60-mile range - plenty for a car designed primarily for city driving.

Both front and back wheels can turn, giving 80 degrees of steering angle making parking even easier - effectively turning in its own length.

A front-mounted door makes ingress and egress easier when parked tightly into a space.

Like Gordon Murray's iStream process, the Hiriko is also designed to revolutionize the manufacturing process, allowing automotive suppliers to provide "core" components in modules, to be constructed wherever the vehicle can be distributed.

A pilot program is due to start soon near Bilbao, Spain, but several other cities around the world - including San Francisco - have shown an interest. The Hiriko's target price is just over $16,000.


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Comments (4)
  1. Okay, that is a really a weird looking car, but for some equally weird reason, I like it...but not the price. That would make a really good city taxi and 'take the seniors to the store or church' car.

  2. Amazing, especially at $16,000 with all that new engineering! Great for crowded cities!

  3. Well, it is better looking than the Smart and I hope that it drives better than the Smart. I do have doubts about that front door though and wonder what you do when parking in a place where someone else can pull in in front of you. I guess you just stand around an wait until they show up and leave the way we did with the 1950s BMW that also had a front door. Before I could justify getting an EV it would need an on board engine to recharge it such as the Fisker or I would have to have two cars with the EV for my running into town for groceries, etc. and a real car for any time that I wished to go more than 30 miles from home.Also,what are the meter maids going to do about 3 cars in on metered space. At least two of them shall get tickets.

  4. If you watch the linked video, the car parks perpendicular to the curb, so the door opens toward the curb, not the vehicle parked in front.

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