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South Korea's Armadillo-T electric car folds up

Small and light all-electric car can fold down to almost half its length for easier parking. Speed demons might want to look elsewhere, however.

You gotta know when to fold 'em.

City dwellers know how crazy-making it can be to endlessly hunt for a parking space.

The Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) this week revealed an electric-vehicle prototype designed to fold up to save parking space. Affectionately christened the Armadillo-T after the animal that hides itself inside its shell, the car is quite possibly one of the first of its type to be introduced to South Korea. You may have heard of a similar concept in the form of the Hiriko, a brainchild of MIT that launched in Spain last year.

With a maximum speed of 37 mph, the Armadillo-T can travel 62 miles after 10 minutes of lithium ion battery charging. After parking, the car can be folded in length from 110 inches down to almost half, 65 inches, via a smartphone interface. To save space, cameras replace the side and rear-view mirrors. According to the Korean Wall Street Journal, three Armadillo-Ts can be slotted into a standard sized parking lot in Korea after folding, using the same smartphone application.

While the Armadillo-T might not interest those with a need for speed, the sub-1,000-pound prototype looks promising as a practical urban vehicle, especially in countries that have limited room for city parking. The fact that it's also an environmentally friendly electric car earns it extra brownie points. However, it doesn't look like it would offer much in the way of protection during an accident, and I'm not sure I want to be crawling at the speed of an armadillo if I'm late for an appointment.

Here's a video of the Armadillo-T in action:

(Source: Crave Asia via The Korea Times)