There are plenty of small, fuel-efficient (or entirely electric) cars available now, but a team of researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have taken the term "compact car" to the next level. According to Phys.org, the team from KAIST has built a foldable, micro electric car inspired by the animal that it is named after. The Armadillo-T has a design similar to the shell of its namesake and can fold the rear half of its body into the shell, reducing its size by almost half. When fully folded, the Armadillo-T can cut its size from 2.8 meters to only 1.65 meters, a move its creators think makes it an ideal vehicle for parking in the city. With the average 5-meter size of a parking spot in Korea, three Armadillo-T vehicles could fit in the space of one normal car.
Beyond its folding capacity, the Armadillo-T features an all-electric motor with a 13.6 kWh battery and four-wheel drive; it also has a 10-minute fast charging capability that'll give it a range of 100 km. Though with a top speed of only 60 km/h, you're not likely to take this car on any highway — but that's not what it was designed for. "I expect that people living in cities will eventually shift their preferences from bulky, petro-engine cars to smaller and lighter electric cars," said professor In-Soo Suh. "Armadillo-T can be one of the alternatives city drivers can opt for." Its creators also envision it as an ideal candidate as a shared car for city usage rather than a vehicle someone goes out and buys from a dealer. "This car is ideal for urban travels, including car-sharing and transit transfer, to offer major transportation links in a city," said professor Suh. The car is far from production-ready, but the team plans to keep pushing it forward to get it beyond the prototype phase.