Imagine if you could take your car anywhere with you – even on the bus or inside your house. A collapsible vehicle may seem like a wild idea, but it is perfect for congested cities, narrow streets or parking at home. These three examples may whet your appetite.
The first one by a Bosnian inventor, Go City, is an electric car that folds into itself to create a wheeled suitcase. It takes only 3 minutes to collapse (faster than some strollers). Made of lightweight aluminium, it can accommodate a driver of up to 100kgs and travel 5 hours on a battery. You will be able to buy it one day for around $4,100.
This futuristic-sounding example is from Japan, and designed by the artist of a popular anime series. It works like a shape-shifting robot. You drive it using a standard steering wheel, but transform it using the joystick. Already, there are orders from keen Japanese buyers and one international airport even wants to use it for ride sharing. This one costs a healthy $70,000.
MIT’s Media Lab designed this one, and a consortium of companies in Spain developed it further. The Hiriko weighs 1,100 pounds, runs on two rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and can run for 120 kms fully charged. This one is available for ride sharing. It can be folded up like a child’s stroller so 3-4 of them fit in a typical parking space. You would buy this for around $16,000.
Nobody knows whether this type of vehicle will become popular enough to become a form of mass transit. But it shows ingenuity in the face of increasing congestion, especially in big cities where most people live.
It will be interesting to see how the idea unfolds…