‘Portable car’ available for pre-orders
Image credit: Cocoa Motors
A Japanese company is launching what it describes as the world’s smallest car. About the size of a laptop and essentially a battery-powered skateboard, the gadget is aimed at city dwellers dealing with the last-mile problem.
Developed by a Tokyo-headquartered start-up called Cocoa Motors, the device, named Walkcar, can reach speeds of up 16km/h, which is more than three times faster than walking and about the same as the speed an average cyclist achieves in city traffic.
The company said the 2.8kg device, which it describes as the world’s smallest car, will be available for pre-orders from 21 October.
The idea behind the technology is for everyone to be able to carry a car in their bag and move around busy cities more independently and faster than conventional walking allows.
The micro-car, with a sleek carbon body, is powered by electricity and with one charge covers the distance of up to 16km, equivalent to a one-hour ride.
The technology is brainchild of former Tokyo University student Kuniaki Sato. Sato, now Cocoa Motors CEO, said he was inspired to developed the technology after moving to Tokyo and witnessing the challenges people face when travelling around the city. Essentially, he said, he wanted the device to enable people to travel longer distances independently without getting exhausted by walking.
The Walkcar has no steering wheel or pedals. Changing direction is enabled simply by shifting one’s weight. It stops moving when the user steps off.
The device is marketed as an attractive alternative for those who can’t or don’t want to walk or cycle. It will sell for $1,280 (£1,560). Shipments are expected to start from September 2017.