Offbeat

Foldable Concept Cars

Could these one day take the place of bikes?

Parallel parking may become a thing of the past if more of these folding cars go from concept to reality. The Hiriko EV has been given the green light on a miniscule production run (more on that later) which means that the future of parking is looking better than ever. The folding car has been designed by many and put into production by none, until now. The movement on the Hiriko EV could signal great things for the small, but dedicated community of folding car designers.

The X-Frame is the farthest away of all these foldable concept cars from becoming a reality. This concept debuted at the Good Design Expo 2010 and can change shape depending on the speed and can fold up vertically to fit into tight parking spaces. Definitely a few years away from this one.

Designer Daniel Bailey has designed the only folding car on this list that car folks might actually want to take for a spin. Bailey's BRB Evolution was inspired by the Peugeot 908 and Lamborghini Murcielago and runs off of a hybrid electric hydrogen fuel-cell engine. The BRB Evolution can also fold vertically to reduce its overall size by 50 percent.

I think everyone would be shocked if the Kowa Tmsuk EV came from anywhere else but Japan. This compact EV has a top speed of 19mph and can fold into itself using a smartphone app. The vehicle is designed ideally for shirt trips in urban areas but would probably be better used to get around shopping malls and schools.

None of these folding cars would even have a shot at existence if it weren't for the Hiriko EV. Twenty Hirikos are being built and will be tested in several cities across the U.S. and Europe. The Hiriko EV is atypical in every way with its hub-mounted electric motors, joystick steering wheel and ability to fold up to one third the size of a Smart ForTwo when parked.

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