A Vehicle that Folds for Easy Storage

Stackable carts can be found in Airports all over the world. You throw in a quarter or 2, use the little cart until you are done and then take it back. What if that basic technology was applied to a mass transit system in larger cities?

Once again our inventors at MIT have outdone themselves. This time they have an idea that could potentially change how we look at mass transit in larger cities. The Smart Cities Group from MIT Media Lab is currently working on 2 different designs that will save parking space and the environment.

The City-CarThe City-Car

The first is a foldable electric scooter. They plan to unveil a prototype next week at the EICAM Motorcycle show in Milan.

The second is a foldable 2 seater "car", called the City-Car. MIT said they plan to have a working prototype to show off next year.

"We're looking at urban personal mobility in a much more sustainable way than the private automobile provides," says William Mitchell, director of MIT's Smart Cities Research Group."


The basic idea is to solve the "last mile" problem. The "last mile" is that unavoidable short distance between a major transit point and your final destination.

The most innovational part of these vehicles is an omnidirectional robotic wheel. The drive motor, braking system, steering components and suspension are all housed within a sealed unit above the wheel. The lack of space between the dive system and the wheel makes the application much more flexible. For example, the car can be folded and stacked with 6 or 7 others and still fit into a traditional parking space.

5 City Cars5 City Cars

MIT hope the new system will greatly decrease congestion inside cities and reduce harmful emissions. They have not yet released any information as far as real-world testing. I'll bet the shorter walks from you car to the mall entrance will be nice though.

Source : TechnologyReview

George Delozier
Motorized Innovations
Nov 6, 2007
by AA (not verified)

Maybe rear transmision would be better

I think that the transmision on the front will waste more energy on the mechanical links (cross links on the front axles needed to allow the wheel to be powered and steered at the same time)

In the last mile, you probably have to do a lot of steering around so power consumption waste to mechanical links would be a considerable factor.

Two motors behind the passengers and driving the rear wheels (two motors to do away with the differential) maybe would be better....

I like the idea though...

Nov 9, 2007
by Anonymous (not verified)

What if you come out before

What if you come out before someone else and want your car. What are suppose to do push the other cars till you can get yours out. I mean great idea but still....

Jun 30, 2008
by Anonymous

What about...

...Those who pee on the bus? If they pee in these "insert a quarter, take the one on the front" style cars, you've got a much more considerable issue at hand.

Aug 16, 2008
by Anonymous

u have a very cool car that

u have a very cool car that smells like a bogres! u did wat n ur pants