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A Spanish electric car that can shrink and fold itself to save space

A Spanish company is betting on its design of a foldable electric car in hopes of revolutionizing the way we travel around cities. The vehicle, which is now in development, is called “Lakota” and can fold itself into such a small size that three vehicles of the same type can park in one parking lot normally.

When folded, the Lakota retracts its electric motors, brakes, steering and wheels, and this technology allows the vehicle’s dimensions to be reduced from 3 meters to 2 metres. The driver can then exit the vehicle from the front.

Old concept…new design
The concept of the foldable car was originally conceived by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States in 2010 when the organization called its prototype the “City Car”.

In the same smart city project, the MIT team also created a technology called “roboridas” which allows a car to spin on itself or spin on its own axis like a spinning top. The research team dubbed the technology a “circular turn,” and said it would allow a car to stop on the side of the road or change lanes directly in front of it.

Spanish automaker NTD, a subsidiary of Seat Volkswagen, has planned three versions of these foldable cars, a two-seater convertible wagon, and a mini-delivery van. “We are designing vehicles for new smart cities, but they can be used now,” said Ricardo Arrondo, CEO of NTD.
The company envisions the two-seater as a city-owned vehicle that can be rented. They will be allocated parking spaces at hotels and museums, and drivers can pay less if they agree to broadcast advertisements on the screen installed on the back of the car when it is folded.

Planning to provide 1200 cars
With its 580-kilogram frame, partly made of sticks, the Lakota’s top speed in town is limited to 90 kilometers per hour. According to the manufacturer, fast charging takes only about 15 minutes from 20 percent to 100 percent while slow charging usually takes about three to six hours.

NTD, which is looking for the support of a major investor for its project, has indicated that it plans to manufacture 1,200 urban electric cars throughout 2023.



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