Melbourne: Traffic snarls in cities need not cause much worry as a new car with an inbuilt electric scooter that flips and folds into the boot will allow commuters to zip through the congested streets.
Carmaker Volkswagen is working on a bike that neatly compacts into the boot of a car and can be recharged on the move, The Age reported.
The "Bik.e" may look like a traditional push bike, but there are no pedals - thus it`s actually more like a folding electric scooter.
Honda in Japan has already sold a version of its City hatch in the 1980s with a bike in the boot. The concept will be a blessing for commuters who are increasingly frustrated with thick traffic and hefty parking charges.
Volkswagen has designed the Bik.e to work in tandem with the car - it folds up for easy storage in the spare-wheel well and can be recharged by plugging it into the car`s battery outlet or a conventional power point.
The Bik.e`s top-speed is 20 km per hour and it has a range of about 20 km.
With such a slight range it`s hardly going to replace your everyday drive, but it could well be handy if you park your car a long distance from your workplace, or even for getting to and from the train station.
A business case is currently being developed for the Bik.e and the concept is likely to make it to production, said Volkswagen`s head of research and development, Ulrich Hackenberg, during a press conference at the Beijing motor show.
He said that Volkswagen`s quest for environmentally friendly mobility is not limited to conventional forms of transportation.
"We think far beyond the car, as such, with a focus on mobility in general" Hackenberg said. "And we do this regularly in concept teams made up of specialists with a mission to look into the future and give up existing conventions, which means finding new, unconventional solutions".
Having the Bik.e in the spare-wheel well is also handy for an emergency situation - it`s like having a pair of spares instead of just one.
"(The Bik.e) can be folded up and stowed conveniently in the luggage compartment, or on the spare wheel at the back with no restriction of the capacity available," said Hackenberg.
"So you can take additional mobility along with you: for example, to reach particular destinations in town, or to remain mobile in your leisure time when you have to park your car somewhere.
"I think this is a super idea - beyond mobility and the car itself," he was quoted as saying.
First Published: Wednesday, May 05, 2010, 09:13