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Thursday 23rd of May 2013
New electric town car unveiled in Europe
A new electric vehicle could be seen on the streets of some European and US streets before the end of the year as the prototype of the Hiriko is unveiled in Brussels. The dome-shaped town-car has been designed to fold in on itself so that when it is parked it will take up less space than a Smart car.
The vehicle has been developed by MIT in the US with backing from a number of Basque businesses and with the support of the Spanish government. If trials later this year are successful, then the two-seater could go into commercial production as soon as the beginning of next year.
Each of the Hiriko’s four wheels is powered by its own motor and steered individually. This makes the vehicle more manoeuvrable, say its creators. Ryan Chin, who began developing the concept at MIT at the end of the ’80s, said the new technology was far more advanced than that being used in Smart cars, adding that the Hiriko also had about five times less impact on the environment.
Instead of a steering wheel, the car is controlled by a joystick system and the driver and passenger get into the vehicle through a door in the front
Initially, 20 test vehicles will be created and sent to cities including Malmo, Bilbao and Boston. The trials are expected to be similar to the tests which were done by the Autolib electric car scheme in Paris. The European Commission’s president Jose Manuel Barroso is to unveil the prototype today.
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