Japan-based Kowa Tmsuk may just be ten months old and just have five employees (it’s a joint venture between two larger companies), but it seems the company is set to build cool things. Their electric vehicle concept, dubbed KOBOT, looks very promising – especially for a first product.
The KOBOT is essentially a mix between a robot and an electric mini car that can make itself smaller than it already is with the push of a button (a feature that obviously comes in handy when it’s time to park the vehicle, for example). What’s cool is that the cars can be connected to smartphones: they actually start folding after owners push the button on their handsets.
Kowa Tmsuk has built three prototypes (see below) to showcase at the Tokyo Motor Show 2011 (which currently takes place).
The seat folds up, the wheelbase contracts, and the panels are concealed. So this concept also has security in mind. In the green Kobot β, the wheelbase goes down by about 30 cm. In the red Kobot ν, it goes down by about 40 cm.
To some extent, vehicles need to coexist with pedestrians, so we’ve given KOBOT a low-speed mode where it’s easy to maneuver. Then, there’s Drive Mode, which goes up to about 30 km/h.
This video from Diginfo TV provides more insight (try to focus on the cars):