Electric City Car Shrinks, Rolls Sideways, Pivots on its Own Footprint

A team of German engineers has been showcasing an EV prototype that can drive sideways, shrink, and turning on a dime in order to tackle challenges of ever-shrinking parking spots and increasing urban congestion.

The EO Smart Connecting Car 2 as it’s been dubbed, was developed in Bremen by DFKI Robotics Innovation Center. The creation team consists of electronics and construction engineers, software developers and designers, who worked for the last three years refining this micro EV.

The vehicle was first announced in 2012, and is currently on its second iteration, thus the name.

It drives just like a normal car most of the time, but each individually steerable wheel is powered by its own motor, meaning that when the time comes to fit into a small parking spot you have the capability of turning the wheels 90 degrees and driving sideways right into it explained project manager Timo Birnschein to CNN.

“The whole process — the transition between normal driving and driving sideways — takes about four seconds,” Birnschein said.

In addition to being able to drive sideways, the EO has the ability to shrink, lifting the car over the rear axle, compressing from full length to only around seven-and-a-half feet, letting this little EV scoot into a smaller spot than you would have originally thought possible.

“It is able to reduce it’s own size by about 31.4 inches, which makes it almost as small as a bike in length. And with this kind of feature you can go into very tiny parking spaces,” Birnschein says. “You are still able to turn on the spot, you are still able to drive sideways and you are still able to connect to charging stations, for example.”

Technical specs of the prototype include a 30-44 mile range on a single four hour full charge, as well as a top speed of 40 miles per hour.