Electric cars have different capabilities and drawbacks than standard cars, and sometimes a design that works for a regular car doesn’t make much sense for an EV. So when the EV startup Hiriko built its Fold concept, the idea was for the design to maximize the advantages of an electric drivetrain. The Fold is a city car if ever there was one, designed for car sharing programs. Private owners can buy them as well, but the $16,560 price tag is a little steep for a vehicle that really can’t be taken outside the city. This impracticality comes from the fact that the electric motor produces only 20 horsepower, and the resulting top speed is 31mph.
The tradeoff for the lack of power is that the Fold is extremely usable in the city. In standard form, the car is 8 inches shorter than a Smart ForTwo, but it can also fold (see what they did there?) in the middle for parking purposes, and in this form is short enough to fit three units end-to-end in a parking space. With such a small size, there is no need for the battery to be especially big, and the Fold can go 75 miles on a charge, with charging taking an amazingly short 15 minutes with a quick charger. The car is the work of a group of Basque entrepreneurs and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It will make its official production debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March and go into production shortly after that, according to a report from auto123. It was designed for work primarily in Europe, but there has been interest from both Boston and San Francisco. The Fold makes pretty good sense for Europe, but we wouldn’t hold out much hope for large numbers of examples making it to American shores.