Automotive

Armadillo-T electric car rolls up like its namesake

Armadillo-T electric car rolls...
The Armadillo-T folds up to use less parking space
The Armadillo-T folds up to use less parking space
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The Armadillo-T in its unfolded state
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The Armadillo-T in its unfolded state
The Armadillo-T folds up to use less parking space
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The Armadillo-T folds up to use less parking space
Cameras installed inside the car eliminate the need for side mirrors and increase the driver’s ability to see the car’s right and left side
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Cameras installed inside the car eliminate the need for side mirrors and increase the driver’s ability to see the car’s right and left side
View gallery - 3 images

It’s time for the Hiriko and Casple-Podadera to fold themselves up and make room, as yet another folding electric car has been created. This one, known as the Armadillo-T, comes from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). As with the other two cars, it’s designed to "fold" (sort of) when not in use, in order to minimize the amount of parking space that it occupies.

The concept car features four in-wheel motors, powered by a 13.6-kWh battery pack located in the front. This feature not only allows for more interior space, but it also means that the motors and battery can stay in place when the car folds.

In its unfolded form, the 450-kg (992-lb) vehicle measures 2.8 meters (110 inches) long. However, by tucking in the rear section of its body (sort of rolling itself up, like an armadillo) it reduces that length to 1.65 meters (65 inches). This would let three of the cars fit within one standard Korean 5-meter (16.4-foot) parking spot.

The Armadillo-T in its unfolded state
The Armadillo-T in its unfolded state

That said, how would you get those three cars in there? Using their smartphone, drivers can remotely control the car, getting it to fold itself up and execute 360-degree turns. This would allow them to squeeze it in and out of tight spaces, which it couldn’t otherwise fit into.

Besides its ability to mimic a desert-dwelling mammal, the Armadillo-T can also manage a top speed of 60 km/h (37 mph) and travel up to 100 km (62 miles) on one 10-minute fast charge.

There’s no word at this point on plans to commercialize the car. The T in its name, incidentally, comes from the Ford Model T – another pioneering vehicle.

The Armadillo-T can be seen in action in the video below.

Source: KAIST

View gallery - 3 images
8 comments
The Skud
Ingenious! I can see one flaw however, what happens if you are driving past one being parked (and folded)? Does the mobile phone trick use "one-app-fits-all" like early garage door openers? Somebody could be stuck there for hours. It would be akin to that early 'bubble car' with the only door in the front, so if you parked too close to a wall, you could not get out - and it had no reverse gear!
Silversalty
On a similar level to what's been noted, I don't see much value to the compression factor. If you need the car at full size to maneuver and park then compressing it and having other cars use the newly available space will prevent the compressed car from expanding and being able to move again. Maybe in attendant parking lots the cars could be stacked up and then unstacked but that's a special case. Also in a home a two car garage could become a four car garage or the extra space could be used, but I don't see any street or general public advantage.
JPAR
SIlversalty - it says that the car can turn 360 degrees, and implies it can do this whilst folded up - so parking shouldn't be a problem.
But the main issue for me is why make the car 2.6m in the first place? Why not simply make it 1.65m to begin with? I mean the folding space needs to stay empty else it won't fold into the front of the car. Stability shouldn't be much of an issue as it only goes 37 mph.
Slowburn
I like the folding but the electric propulsion is ludicrous; for that range and power I could use an Ammonia Absorption Engine and not need the rare earth elements for the batteries and motors.
Jay Finke
WOW what a joke, that one make my top 10 of the worst, the folding feature is nice, I think it will fit in my dumpster here at my shop.
warren52nz
You could also park it sideways in a parking space with that length so rotating wouldn't be necessary to get out of the space. Can't Smart cars fit into standard spaces sideways?
Guy Macher
Another solution to a non-existent problem. And don't touch the magic button while "sailing" along at 37 mph. And nearly 1000 pounds! A Lotus 7 is only a few pounds heavier!
The Flying Crowbar
It's almost like EV designers intentionally compete to see who can make the most ridiculous looking and poorest performing vehicles possible.
At GreenCar EV Headquarters: "Alright gentlemen, we need to come up with an EV like the world has never see before. It needs to have an over-engineered gimmick that no one really needs, terrible range and dangerously slow speeds... Most of all it needs to look like a childs' drawing of a car; with bright fun colours, rounded everything and funny little wheels on the outside that must appear to be an afterthought. Also our marketing team tells us that Social Media, Transformers, skinny jeans, hip hop and pictures of cats must be all be incorporated into the core design of our EV. Everything else is tertiary at best. Good luck."