Europe

MIT’s City Car, Becomes a Reality as Hiriko.

About 5 years ago, MIT began developing an inner city automobile that was designed for highly congested areas. The commuter car had a distinct advantage in dense urban areas where parking is always at a premium. “City Car” could fold up to reduce it’s physical footprint.

Recently in Brussels, the “City Car”, now renamed “Hiriko Fold” was revealed as an actual production prototype slated to go into production in 2013. The first urban areas slated to receive the car is Vitoria Gasteiz, a community on the edge of Bilbao Spain. Cities slated to follow the debut of for a trial run with Hiriko are Boston, Berlin, Hong Kong, Francisco, and Malmo. It will be interesting to see how well this concept does in the United States, a country that loves it’s over sized gas guzzling SUV’s and Trucks. A country where people don’t mind driving from an hour outside the city on their daily commute. One thing about most of the United States, land is available, and urban sprawl is common. These factors lend themselves to the obsession with Suburbans, F-350’s, Hummers, and Explorers in most of America.

The Hiriko, when unfolded is slightly smaller than a Smart Car, yet the styling is very futuristic, and sleek. Factors that might help it do better than Smart has done since it’s introduction to the American market a few years back.

What makes Hiriko unique is it’s ability to fold into itself allowing it to park in a space about one third the size of a normal car. According to MIT, three to four Hiriko vehicles can fit into the space used by a normal full sized car. This will be huge for American cities like New York, San Francisco, or Boston. In addition, the Hiriko has the ability to turn on its axis with virtually no turning ratio which aids in inner city driving/parking conditions. Powered by four independent electric motors (one for each wheel) Hiriko can even move sideways in a crab-like manner, virtually eliminating the need to ever parallel park the in a traditional fashion.

Hiriko is estimated to cost around $12,500 when it arrives next year. That price point makes it affordable, and it’s size makes it desirable for many. I just hope MIT can come up with a marketing plan that will sell this to an American audience. In my opinion Hiriko will be a huge success in Europe, Japan, India, and other extremely dense urban areas. Here in the good old USA, it might be a tough sell since we have to share the streets with so many bloated over sized vehicles. Either way I can’t wait to see this in person, and actually take it for a test drive.

Wrangler Jeans, Smashed, Crashed, Burned, and Blown Up.

I haven’t worn Wrangler jeans since I was a kid. I don’t have anything against them, I just don’t wear them. Most people here in America don’t. At least the people I know and hang out with. One thing I have always been amazed by, is how popular the brand is in Europe. Seriously, every time I have been to Europe I see a ton of people wearing Wrangler and Lee Jeans. Maybe it has something to do with the perception that these brands are tough, or represent the iconic western culture that is associated with America. I don’t know, it could be, then again maybe the Europeans are just cooler than the rest of us and are on to something.

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A new campaign for Wrangler Europe has just launched. The campaign entitled “Stunt” features images of real life stunt people jumping through windows, setting themselves on fire, falling tumbling, rolling and doing all sorts of adrenaline fueled craziness. Shot by Cass Bird and her crew in “New York”, Paramount Studios, Los Angeles, the campaign features a solid print group, plus an interactive website titled “We Are Animals” that will reveal video footage and behind the scenes shots of what took place during the photo shoot. Both the print campaign and the integrated web campaign work really well, highlighting the Wrangler brand, and reinforcing the toughness associated with the iconic American brand. The behind the scenes video below shows some really amazing video of how they set this up and shot it.