Sunday, January 06, 2013

Folding cars offer solution to urban transport problems

Space-saving electric vehicles could begin to zip around European roads as early as this summer. But will they convince commuters to leave their cars at home?

Motorists must be a determined bunch. Crowded roads, jam-packed parking lots, and rising fuel prices – not to mention greenhouse gas emissions – don’t seem to be enough to persuade the average car commuter to hop on public transport. But a folding electric vehicle (EV) hopes to change all that and convince commuters to leave their car keys – and the gas guzzler – at home.

Micro-EVs, as these vehicles are known, could enable cities to solve a long-standing mass-transit problem: How do you get commuters who don’t live or work within walking distance of a transit station to take public transport? Urban planners call this the “first and last mile” conundrum.

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