Hiriko EV shown to EC next week

January 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

A prototype two-seater city EV called Hiriko will be unveiled next week and presented to the President of the European Commission, Durao Barroso, in Brussels next week. Despite its Japanese-sounding name, Hiriko has been developed by a consortium of companies in the Basque region, funded by the Spanish government, under the direction of former Daimler production engineer Armando Gaspar and with input from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). There’s more information on the project at the Hiriko website.

Intriguingly, Hiriko itself is  said to be “capable of folding up for parking” (no further details on this as yet). It’s four-wheel-drive, and will boast state-of-the-art connectivity (the project consortium has also been working on autonomous and self-guided vehicle technology). It is designed for use as a public-access shared vehicle, to be hired via a smartphone booking/charging system.

Trials of the first cars will start later this year in several European and American cities – and whilst the first cars will be built in the Basque city of Vitoria-Gasteiz, the plan is for them to be assembled in deprived areas of the cities where they will be used, reports The Guardian, thus creating local jobs and developing local engineering skills. The cars will also be owned and operated by local authorities, not private contractors. The first city to take part will be Malmo, in southern Sweden, where a three-car fleet will be deployed by the council.

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