On Tuesday (Aug. 20), Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) researchers presented an electric car prototype with a truly unusual feature: the ability to fold itself down to almost half its size. In its normal state, the aptly-named Armadillo-T can go 100 kilometers (about 62 miles), at a maximum speed of 60 kilometers per hour (about 37 mph), before needing a recharge. When the driver gets out, all they have to do is use a smartphone app to initiate the folding mechanism and to roll the folded car into a parking spot, where it takes up about a third of the space a traditional car would occupy.
What’s the Big Idea?
KAIST professor and project leader Suh In-Soo says it will be a few years before the Armadillo-T is available commercially, since it was made “mostly by hand” at a cost of between ₩1 trillion and 1.5 trillion (US$895 million-$1.34 billion). When it does reach the market, interest “will start from places like golf resorts or amusement parks, as large carmakers tend to wait until their own market becomes mature first.” Eventually, as electric cars gain a larger foothold, Suh says that “Armadillo-T can be one of the alternatives city drivers can opt for.”