SustaIgnition … Literally!

06 Feb, 2012

What a better way to start up a blog on sustainability than by featuring a perfect example of SustaIgnition!

On January 24th, the newest creation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab in conjunction with an enterprise consortium of seven firms from Spain’s Basque country was introduced to the world by the President of the European Commission, Durao Barroso: a new car prototype called Hiriko. This new invention in the automobile industry is a 100% electric car that not only saves on gasoline, but also on space! Why? Because it can fold vertically to ONE-THIRD the size of a standard car, just like a baby stroller!

[media-credit name="" align="aligncenter" width="648"][/media-credit]The Hiriko car was conceived as a more sustainable, and convenient, solution to mobility in European cities. Some of its innovative two-passenger car’s features are a touch screen steering wheel and a flip-up windshield that serves as its door. Also, the Hiriko car’s motor is located in its wheels, which can turn up to 90 degrees making driving, and mainly parallel parking, much easier. This car can be electronically set to respect speed limits and can reach up to 55 mph (90 km/h). In addition, the Hiriko car can go around 75 miles (120 km) on a single charge, utilizing interchangeable battery packs.

[media-credit name="" align="alignleft" width="324"][/media-credit]Twenty units of the Hirko car will be produced and introduced to the market in 2013 in the city Victoria-Gasteiz, Spain for around 12,500 euros each (approximately 16,400 dollars). In 2015, the forecast is to produce 9,000 units in different franchises in America and Europe.

Although some cities have already showed interest in this vehicle, many point out that small, electric cars haven’t really been a success in terms of sales and fear the Hiriko car will face a tough entry to the market. Nevertheless, something about this car is undeniable and that is the incredibly innovative approach with which the problem of urban transportation, job creation, and pollution was assessed. President Barroso has even described the Hiriko car as being “an answer to the crisis” in Europe, since it combines employment creation with social innovation and new business possibilities.

What do you think about having, in a couple of years, the choice between renting a Bixi Bike or an Hiriko car to move around downtown Montreal?

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