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Summary:

The maturing of the car-sharing industry was illustrated by ZipCar and Flexcar announcing a merger, this week. Perhaps the market is ready for an even more sustainable approach developed by researchers at MIT: the City Car, a personal, stackable, electric, goldfish bowl-esque mode of transport, meant […]

The maturing of the car-sharing industry was illustrated by ZipCar and Flexcar announcing a merger, this week. Perhaps the market is ready for an even more sustainable approach developed by researchers at MIT: the City Car, a personal, stackable, electric, goldfish bowl-esque mode of transport, meant to be picked up in one location — and left for the next user at another one.

City Car cropped

City Car is being developed by the Smart Cities group at the MIT Media Lab; a prototype of is scheduled to be released next year. An electric vehicle with four independent, fully integrated in-wheel electric motors and suspension systems called “wheel robots,” the car is designed to stack (video embedded below) when parked and charging; six City Cars can be squeezed into a single traditional parking spot. Stacks of cars would be left throughout the city at strategic destinations, notably ones that converge with public transportation.

“The City car is NOT a replacement for personal vehicles, taxis, buses, or trucks; it is a NEW vehicle type that promotes a socially responsible and more effective means of urban mobility,” the project’s web site says.

MIT’s Smart City is debuting a prototype of their foldable electric scooter at the EICMA Motorcycle Show next week in Milan. The team has high hopes for the scooter. Developed with Taiwanese scooter manufacturer SYM, Smart City hopes that the scooter could be a boon for the numerous scooter-choked cities of the world such as Taipei, which has nearly as many scooters as people.

The notion of not having your car beholden to a single spot is liberating, and removing the need to return to your point of departure will surely cut down on unnecessary fuel consumption. But how do you prevent an inordinate number of cars from winding up parked at a few select locations? As the car-sharing industry continues to mature, equally as important as developing sustainable transportation will be a thorough understanding of urban travel behavior.

  1. Sounds like a bicycle. Many European cities already have bike sharing facilities, and have trucks that move bikes from one place to another as they build up (because of the overall flow of people at different times of the day).

    The problem is not the technology – it’s people.

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  2. That’s the same issue Vélib (http://www.velib.paris.fr/) is having. If they can manage there is probably a few things one can learn from.

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  3. stackable cars are stupid, what happened to bicycles. subways and other types of shit? why are we going back to individual transport?

    “Stacks of cars would be left throughout the city at strategic destinations, notably ones that converge with public transportation.”

    THIS SCREAMS SUBWAY! OM MY GOD, i wish i can talk to them!!!

    sustainable ? crazy, insane. how is building more crap and occupying more space going to make life more sustainable?

    what if you got 2 kids? are they driving the car behind? or can they “train” hook up the cars?

    ” it is a NEW vehicle type that promotes a socially responsible and more effective means of urban mobility,”

    “socially responsible”, holy shit, they are trying to educated people with this egg shape electric death trap? why not expand and improve on whats already build?

    this hunger for innovation is very human, and I think this hunger is THE problem why human life is not sustainable.

    roads will have to be redesigned, new sources of implmenting energy will have to be intregrated into a city thats already old and crowded.

    Even if it was build, it will be the play thing of the rich. it’s too nirvanic to try to force this thing on the general public.

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  4. [...] más el espacio ocupado en las calles. El prototipo del modelo debería estar listo en 2008. Link: earth2tech.com, Video del City Car en You [...]

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  5. The Survival of Humankind, and Improving the World, Society, and Yourself!

    Yet who can the world trust to be idealistic and moral enough to help all of humanity and the environment, and at the same time, be practical enough to make extremely difficult decisions that can and will harm a great deal of people?

    Humanitism is a philosophy for the continued survival and perpetuation of the human race. Humanitists (people who believe in humanitism) do not have the luxury of trying again after failing. Humanitists must be more vigilant than environmentalists, because we will not have a second chance at survival.

    The survival of humanity is more important than the well being of our environment; however the environment is necessary for humanity to survive. That does not give the right for big businesses to continue doing whatever they want with only minimal or no consideration for the environment, so long as our surroundings support human life. We need to protect the environment for the continued survival and future well being of humanity. Keep in mind that without the human race, there would be no one and no need to protect the environment. Therefore, humanitism is more important than environmentalism.

    It seems that in the past 50 years the human race has pursued the money train, that such desire for financial gain has caused society to ignore and abandon honesty, values, morality and candidness etc.

    The race to financial gain has caused our leaders and the executives of the corporate world to disregard laws, ethics and the caring for each other and humanity as a whole. Deception, fraud and outright theft are their new motto all for the sake of financial gain, fame and success.

    It seems that for the sake of success and profit people will step on anybody, family friends, co-workers and anyone who stands in their way or take advantage of anyone that could help them achieve what they want.

    That is not to say that honest and compassionate people who care do not exist, where honesty and integrity is a way of life for them, but they are a very small minority.

    As we begin the year 2008, we should all look at the past and decide with determination that everyone will from now on contribute to the betterment of humanity, society and mankind.

    We should all learn to live with each other and respect each other for the sustainability of mankind.

    Compiled by: Yehuda Draiman – 1/1/2007

    PS
    The human survival instinct prods us to outlast afflictions and, if circumstances permit, to reach old age. Nothing, of course, could be more quintessentially natural than aging..

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  6. [...] el espacio ocupado en las calles. El prototipo del modelo deberí­a estar listo en 2008. Link: earth2tech.com, Video del City Car en You [...]

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