Folding cars

Grey nomads mobility solution

Finally! The solution to the motorhomer’s eternal conun­drum could be upon us. It’s a tale as old as time. “We love the luxury of our motorhome – but we need the mobility of a smaller vehicle when we’re parked up in a caravan park – but we hate towing a vehicle behind us.”

Well, what started as a project to ease congestion and parking problems in Europe’s major cities could ultimately prove to be the grey nomad’s dream … the fold-up mini car!

Spanish group, the Hiriko Driving Mobility consortium, has developed a folding two-seat urban electric car called the Hiriko. It weighs less than 500 kg and is 2.5 metres long when extended. However, the microcar has a hinged body which enables it to fold up­wards to a compact 1.5 metres. Apparently, this allows three-and-a-half Hirikos to fit into a typical urban parking space … but for the motorhomer it may have even more exciting possibilities. Could it, for example, potentially be stored on the roof rack? Could it fit into a vehicle’s boot? Could it somehow be mounted in the rear of the motorhome?

Exciting times indeed.

The Fold microcar is now in pre-accessoriesion and will be on sale next year with a starting price of around $17,000. The consortium behind the project also plans to use the same concept to develop the Alai, a convertible … and the Laga, a small truck.

The microcar is powered by a small lithium-ion battery pack that gives it a range of 120km. It has a top speed of 50 km/h.

Oh, and for a little bonus in case you are struggling to find space alongside your giant motorhome in that compact van park site, each of the Hiriko’s four wheels can turn 60 degrees left or right, ena­bling it to travel sideways and to park just about anywhere.

Instead of a steering wheel, and brake and accelerator controls, the vehicle has a glorified ‘joystick’. When the driver pushes it forward the car speeds up, and when it’s pulled back the car slows down. The stick can be moved left to right to make turns.

The driver and passenger get in and out of the car through the front hatch.

It sounds like fun … but is it really the answer to a motorhomer’s prayers?


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