International mobility supplier and German rail network operator Deutsche Bahn has decided to use the Hiriko folding electric car in its Berlin car sharing programme. This collaboration agreement between the two companies will complete Deutsche Bahn’s transport network for the city with a trial project that will see the folding electric car gradually integrated into the network
The deal includes the combined development of the vehicle in Germany, as well as the first phase of the car’s testing and adaptation for community use over the next two years in Berlin with the electroMobility platform from InnoZ Innovation Centre. When all the technical authorisations have been obtained, the Hiriko will be merged into the electric car sharing scheme operated by Deutsche Bahn, which is called eFlinkster. It’s planned that the foldable cars will be circulated through Berlin’s urban landscape during tests next year and then become officially added to the car sharing fleet in 2014.
The agreement marks the start of first-level backing for the Basque Consortium, as Deutsche Bahn is one of the main mobility and logistics companies in the world. The consortium has been collaborating with authorities in Berlin since 2010, and officials have appreciated the Hiriko project’s attractive opportunity in responding to the intelligent mobility needs of the city. This deal is a big step forward, as it reaffirms the railway operator’s and city’s commitment to the Basque electric car.
Deutsche Bahn aims to provide integral mobility solutions, so it appreciates the singular features of the Basque Consortiums’ Hiriko project, which is a model partner to supplement an extensive rail network with electric vehicle sharing services in major cities. Deutsche Bahn is present in more than 130 nations and transports more than 2.7 billion people every year. The company also doesn’t just sell train fares, as it already operates many car sharing fleets, which provide travellers with a vehicle at the station that they can use to finish the journey to their final destination.
The Innoz electric mobility research centre is one of the main partners of Deutsche Bahn in the development of innovating mobility proposals for urban areas. At the same time, Hiriko has been collaborating with the research centre for more than two years. It’s because of this collaboration that the first HIriko prototype was revealed in Berlin on 27 May 2010 with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The decisive factor in the Hiriko folding electric car being chosen by Deutsche Bahn was the simple fact that it’s the only car specially designed for sharing electric vehicles in large cities. The car being able to fold up and take up less space and its frontline electrics being able to link to the most progressive platforms for inter-mobility only reinforces its design for large cities.
During the announcement for the agreement, Andreas Knie, Deutsche Bahn’s director of innovation, noted that Hiriko is the only car designed specifically to understand the integral door-to-door service of mobility. They are placing their faith in the project because it allows them to develop and test intelligent mobility solutions for Germany in the 21st century. Hiriko director general Armando Gaspar added that the agreement is an important milestone in the global development of their project. It has been a wonderful project for innovation, but now it’s becoming a reality in the industry.