Germany is no stranger to car-sharing programs, but a novel new vehicle is about to join Berlin’s car-sharing network. The EV company Hiriko, originally called City Car, is planning to test run its folding car in agreement with the German railway network, Deutsche Bahn. Born from the labs of MIT in the mid-2000’s. The company name comes from the Basque word meaning “urban,” and the tiny electric vehicle is prefect for squeezing into tight spaces. With only two seats, the Hiriko has a sliding rear section onto which the front passenger section can retract. Folded, the car measures only 1.5 meters long, making it more compact than a Smart car at 2.7 meters.
Thanks to a partnership with Deutsche Bahn and a Basque motor consortium of corporate interests, Hiriko will be rolling out 20 if its folding cars in Germany in 2013. The agreement includes a joint development of the Hiroko project in Berlin and fine-tuning for pubic use through the sharing program eFlinkster. With an $87 million budget, the test period will run throughout the year and become official in 2014.
Completely electric and compact, the car is meant to augment the railway’s main infrastructure by offering service that helps travelers complete their “extra mile home.” Powered by a lithium ion battery, the Hiriko has a range of 120 km and can be recharged in 15 minutes. Reaching speeds of around 60 km per hour, the vehicle is restricted to densely populated city centers. Its wheels are capable of rotating at a 60 degree angle, allowing it to corner and navigate winding urban streets. The Hiriko is available in the Fold, which will be used for the car share, the convertible Ialai, and miniature pickup Laga.
Via Clean Technica