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Hyundai assesses 1-person cars

By Tara Baukus Mello ·
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

With increasing concerns about polluting and overcrowding in cities worldwide, Hyundai used its 2012 IDEA Festival to assess the viability of one-person cars that would provide faster modes of transportation than on foot while still offering flexibility for individuals to get exactly where they need to go.

The yearlong internal contest at Hyundai's research and development center in Korea has Hyundai engineers submitting ideas in the spring, which are judged on theme relevance, creativity, technology and fun. Those that move on from the first round participate in a presentation contest. About half of those competitors move on to the finals and produce prototypes of their ideas.


Ideas for the 2012 competition included an electric bike that folds out of a car's spare tire and could be used whenever desired or in a pinch if the car is broken down; a five-jointed microcar that is able to maneuver in small spaces and climb steps; and the E4U (shown here), an egg-shaped vehicle where the driver stands upright to pilot the car. The E4U was one of the winning ideas from the 2012 festival and was on display at the recent Seoul Motor Show in Hyundai's booth as an example of one possible direction for future mobility in congested cities.

Hyundai engineers submitted ideas for IDEA Festival 2013 last month. This year's theme is "R&D for Customers" and reflects Hyundai's current focus on developing the brand and customer experience.

What form do you think transportation will take in the future?

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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December 08, 2013 at 12:21 pm

single person auto machine = SPAM

it's what you'll feel like when inside, and what you'll look like after an accident.

May 10, 2013 at 8:10 pm

I want to see the crash test footage before I make any judgment. On second thought, I don't think that I do.

Kenneth Thomas
May 10, 2013 at 5:12 pm

I am all for innovation, but there is not enough information in the article (or even much of a photo) to understand it fully or critique it fairly.

May 10, 2013 at 4:36 pm

We could call it Simple Hyundai Individual Transport S.H.I.T for short

May 10, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Looks like a death trap to me.

May 10, 2013 at 2:52 pm

The thing looks like a canned ham on wheels, much like the Smart Car. What an ugly looking thing. I would'nt drive that car.

Old Hippie
May 08, 2013 at 7:50 pm

That's an amazing idea, Holden! What could we call it? Perhaps a "motorized seated green transportation bicycle". Maybe someone could think of a somewhat shorter name?

Holden Lewis
May 08, 2013 at 5:01 pm

You know what would be really cool? Take this Hyundai vehicle, add a seat instead of making the driver stand, and make it a saddle, so the driver sits astride it. Then reduce the number of wheels to two. Now, THAT would be a fine vehicle for maneuvering congested city streets!