The European Commission’s President, José Manuel Durao Barroso, has presented the electric vehicle HIRIKO, which has been developed by a Basque enterprise consortium. Urban, with four-wheel traction and direction, a haptic steering wheel and foldable when parking, HIRIKO is a giant step ahead in urban mobility thanks to its management system, as per demand, that complements the public transport and helps decongest traffic in city centres. According to Barroso, “HIRIKO is an answer to the crisis”.
HIRIKO features innovative navigation systems, 120 km autonomy, can reach a maximum speed of 90 km/h and can be limited to 50 km/h in the city.
Barroso was accompanied at this event by the chairman of HIRIKO Jesus Echave; mayors Ilmar Reepalu of Malmö (Sweden) and Javier Maroto of Vitoria-Gasteiz; the President of the Regional Council of Alava, Javier de Andres; international coordinator of HIRIKO Gorka Espiau; the parties responsible for mobility in Barcelona, Berlin and Boston; the parties responsible for the MIT of Massachusetts; and the executives of Afypaida, Denokinn, Guardian, Sapa, TMA, Forging Products, BRW-Basque Robot Wheels, Ingeinnova and Maser Mic, who have been in charge of developing this project. Among those attending were Luis Viana and Jon Urigüen, members of parliament for Economic Promotion in Alava and Gipuzkoa, respectively; Edorta Larrauri, Technology director for the Basque Government; and Marta Marin, deputy of the Basque Government in Brussels.
In the opinion of the European Commission’s President, Jose Manuel Durao Barroso, “projects such as the electric car by HIRIKO play an important role in responding to the crisis, for it combines new business possibilities with the creation of employment and social innovation”.
Barroso explained that “budget control is essential when it come to fighting this crisis“, but he also said, “projects such as the HIRIKO car are part of the solution to the crisis. HIRIKO is an example of how to resuscitate traditional industrial sectors and lead them to new challenges, such as urban mobility”.
Geoff Mulgan, Managing Director of the British public company Nesta working in social innovation, has highlighted HIRIKO’s social aspect when it comes to transforming cities, and he has defined the idea of the Basque Consortium as a “practical and tangible dream” carried out by “practical visionaries“.
The event has been framed as a tribute paid by the European Commission to Diogo Vasconcelos, the renowned innovator who past away last year. Several of his family members and friends attended the event.
As highlighted by the chairman of HIRIKO, Jesus Echave, the new electric vehicle is “an example of social innovation and it intends to change cities and its habits; in the future we will be able to eliminate stress and noise in the city centres”.
In Echave’s point of view, “HIRIKO is an example of social innovation that contributes to changing cities and its habits as far as sustainable mobility is concerned, because the first clients will be institutions, municipalities and public services, which will use them as fleets in their respective city”.
Both the mayor of Vitoria, Javier Maroto, and the President of the Regional Council of Alava, Javier de Andres, have participated in a meeting with investors, businessmen, and technological leaders from the entire world that are interested in the Basque economical proposals. In Javier de Andres’ opinion, “Alava is an ideal setting to carry out the project given the province’s technological wealth”. The mayor of the Green Capital 2012 has dubbed HIRIKO as a “project that creates green employment”.
In 2013, the first assembly plant will initiate the production of HIRIKO. 9,000 units per year will be produced by 2015 in the different franchises in Europe and America.
Source: Hiriko press