Vehicle: Car: Lightweight
Foldaway Car   (+1, -3)  [vote for, against]
Never worry about parking again.

With current trends in new materials and mechanical tolerances, I believe it is time to develop the foldaway car. Parking would be a simple matter of folding and storing into a handy carry case. Of course the old rule of folding only up to seven times would still exist, but imagine the kudos of showing off your brand new unfurling it in your very own living room or office. A matching foldaway boot-storage CD interchanger would also need to be developed.
-- stickyman, Mar 02 2001

(?) Folding Suitcase Car http://popularmecha...h/0003TUSTTRAM.html
I knew I had seen one of these before. It was conceived on the campus of an English University. [Aristotle, Mar 02 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

(?) Smart Car
This links you to the English version of their French site. [Aristotle, Mar 02 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

VWVortex article http://www.vwvortex...2/04_16/index.shtml
still a concept, but sounds like a good idea. [xtraspecialzero, Oct 04 2004]

Mazda Suitcase Car (2004) http://www.microcar...tcasecar/index.html
[jutta, Jul 04 2006]

Vaios Panagiotou's Suitcase Car http://www.cranfiel...lenic/baios_car.htm
[jutta, Jul 04 2006]

Mazda Suitcase Car (1991-1994)
And some candidates from a Junkyard Wars episode. [jutta, Jul 04 2006]

First saw this halfbaked in an old Warner Brothers' cartoon.
-- centauri, Mar 02 2001

Reminds me of the Jetsons. Why didnt anyone else think of that half-baked version of this? lol

It also reminds me of this invention I saw from a Japanese car company. I can't remember the company, but it was one of the biggies. Hmm.. what was that invention again? Oh yea, a fold-away car. Smaller than most cars, obviously, but still a car and fold able. So, all-in-all...

-- ironfroggy, Mar 06 2001

I've heared from more-well-travelled friends about "smart cars" in Europe that fit in a parallel parking spot end-on. Are these easier to park?
-- badoingdoing, Mar 07 2001

You've probably heard about the Smart range of cars created by partnership between Swatch and a car manufacturer. They are small, fully customisable but very expensive as they are intended to be a fashion statement for urban dweller.

Two Smarts can conceivably fit in the same parking space for a regular car and because they are so small (and designed to be manoeuverable) they are reputedly east to park.
-- Aristotle, Mar 07 2001

Peter: Regarding the foldaway car designed on a UK campus. This was a case of a student doing something that was believed to be impossible and the light weight is testament to the inventor's design.
-- Aristotle, Mar 08 2001

Smart Cars are all the rage here in trendy London, but are they ecologically viable? After all they may be easy to park but they only carry two people hence no ability to people-share, thus if everyone owned one, there would be more vehicles driving around and hence more pollution. In Germany (Mercedes have a stake in Smart) they nick-name it the 'Little Piglet' cos it really looks a pig - minus the foot and mouth disease.
-- stickyman, Mar 08 2001

I don't think small cars like the Smart will ever be ecologically viable because each car consumes a fair amount of resources to make. On those grounds either a well-used public transport system or something like the minimalistic suitcase car beats scaled-down production cars every time.

Did the suitcase car match your idea?
-- Aristotle, Mar 08 2001

why not stick a handle on the top of your car, and tell people it is your suitcase - you might have to paint it black or alligator skin - like, but at least you could drive home in it after work. lots of storage space too!
-- benfrost, Mar 08 2001

Yup, folding suitcase car does it I guess.
-- stickyman, Mar 08 2001

one of dean kamen's patents is for a folding car. (btw, the print version of is reporting that he is now in the hydrogen powered chariot business. building a factory in new england.)
-- gnormal, Mar 08 2001

I think a bicycle needs a certain size and weight to remain stable (from experience of riding bikes that were too small) but the suitcase car just needed the bare minimum to get someone around on four wheels.
-- Aristotle, Mar 09 2001

A folding car has been an interesting idea to me for some time as well, preferably one that is pedal powered, with perhaps a little electrical assistance on pull away.

I am currently at the sketch stage, the concept is a carbon fibre frame and a canvas 'body'. The folding concept would allow the car to be easily stowed away somewhere (such as in a porch or hallway) rather than picked up and carried away.
-- mboxwell, Apr 07 2001

if i understand gnormal correctly: he's saying don't have fold into a suitcase. IT SHOULD BE THE SUITCASE! It should look like a large suitcase, and function as one too! Just with a motor, so it takes itself (and you) home.
-- pashute, Jun 30 2002

Some years ago I ran across a MoPed that "collapsed" somewhat, making a smaller package, and included a carrying handle. It weighed in the range of about 50-70 lbs, and was designed to be airliner-transportable. I think it had a top speed of about 25-30 mph and got around 130 mpg. The construction was of aluminum and plastic, for the most part. I don't recall the manufacturer, but I think it was European (not Japanese.) Maybe Segways are the answer- just modify existing urban buses with Segway loading ramps, rip out the seats and install Segway recharging ports...
-- whlanteigne, Sep 28 2002

On Smarts: watch out! Volkswagen has a new concept car that might work to replace them. The 1L concept can go 100km on 1L. It's not all that fast, but as far as efficiency goes in a gas engine there's not much better. Check the Vortex link for pictures.
-- xtraspecialzero, Feb 09 2003

I think a Velorex Oskar comes close to the idea, a motorcycle-powered, fabric-covered 3-wheel "car" made in Czechoslovakia from the 1950s through about 1970; modify the framework to fold up and you'd have something close, although it's going to weigh about 900 lbs.
-- whlanteigne, Jul 03 2006

This is just wonderful, until you go to change the radio station and hit the "Fold" button by mistake...
-- phundug, Jul 03 2006

Nah, I'll stick with my backpack Zeppelin.
-- strange606, Jul 04 2006

random, halfbakery