Thursday, November 5, 2009


City Car Network: Stackable vehicles for dense urban areas

The idea is that these small, electric city vehicles are scattered around the city
and available to be used by anyone subscribed to the City Car network. This
connects existing public transport networks and allows citizens the use of on-
demand individualized mobility.

Potential users can subscribe to the City Car network in order to obtain a swipe card,
with which they can get access to any City Car parked at a Vehicle Stack. These
would for example be situated near train stations and stops for metro, bus and tram
as well as a number of general sites. After use, the City Car can be returned to the
nearest Vehicle Stack. A metropolitan city, or a company operating within the city,
can own a fleet of City Cars parked on a large number of sites throughout the city.
Also urban condominiums and large corporations could have their own Vehicle Stack,
which is little more that an assigned parking area equipped with a recharging unit for
a stack of City Cars.

Each Vehicle Stack receives incoming vehicles in-line and re-charges the batteries.
Users take the first fully charged vehicle available at the front of the stack.
The rear wheel arrangement can collapse underneath the vehicle, which will
cause the rear of the vehicle cabin to tilt upwards to allow a second vehicle
to be stacked tightly against it, similar to luggage carts at the airport.

The City Car utilizes electric motors and suspension systems integrated into each
wheel hub. These so-called Wheel Robots eliminate the need for a conventional
drive train configuration with an engine, gearbox and differential. Each Wheel
Robot is self-contained and digitally controlled. Together they provide all-
wheel power and steering, capable of 360 degrees freedom of movement.
This makes omni-directional movement possible.

The City Car is under development by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Media Lab in co-operation with General Motors (GM). The final aim of the project
is to have GM build a fully functioning prototype.

DRIVE SYSTEM: Direct electric drive with in-wheel motors
MAXIMUM SPEED: 130 – 145 km/h (80 – 90 mph)
DRIVING RANGE: 80 – 320 km (50 – 200 miles)

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