The introduction of the new foldable CityCar heralds an innovation in car design.
The CityCar electric automobile, developed and prototyped by Smart Cities, takes up minimal space while parked – achieved by folding the car.
“When a CityCar folds, the baggage compartment remains level and low for easy access,” according to Smart Cities.
The car “folds” as there is there is no central engine and each wheel contains an electric motor.
No central engine
“It does not have a central engine and traditional power train, but is powered by four in-wheel electric motors. Each wheel unit contains drive motor, steering, and suspension, and is independently digitally controlled. This enables manoeuvres like spinning on its own axis, moving sideways into parallel parking spaces, and lane changes while facing straight ahead.
“Shifting drive to the corners in this way enables the CityCar to fold to minimise parking footprint, and to provide front ingress and egress (since there is no engine in the way),” the company said.
“Designed to meet the demand for enclosed personal mobility – with weather protection, climate control and comfort, secure storage, and crash protection – in the cleanest and most economical way possible”.
It weighs less than 1,000 pounds, parks in much less space than a regular car and produces no emissions as it is power electric, according to the company.
The CityCar is currently in development in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), US, and is expected for release in 2011.