The way humans hunt for parking
And the way animals hunt for food
Are not as different as you might think.
Tom Vanderbilt
I thought when I learned how to manipulate a car in busy traffic without killing my passengers or myself, I had mastered the art of driving. Little did I know that the biggest challenge and the worst nightmare of the driving life is finding a place to park the car.
The problem is not just finding a space;it is getting the car into it. The first time I attempted to parallel park, I managed to smash 8 fenders in less than three minutes: All four on my car, two on the car in front and two on the car in back. It is not just that I have absolutely no spatial judgment; it is that there isn’t enough space on a city street for all the cars that want to park there.
The supply is so far below the demand that cities throughout the world are making a fortune on the fines they give for illegal parking not to mention the cost of parking legally. Whether you break the law or not, you are going to break the bank if you want to put your car anywhere near where you planned to go.
The good news is that a Korean company has managed to solve the problem for us all. They have invented a folding car they call the Armadillo –T. The vehicle is tiny to begin with and once stopped can be folded to one-third its size with a smart phone.
Think of it! You drive to the supermarket, tuck your car in a little corner and off you go to do your shopping. The car is so small that if you can bench-press 50 pounds you can fold it up and stow it in the garage when you get home, with plenty of room left over to keep spare furniture, appliances and naughty children.
The advantages of such a tiny little automobile boggle the mind. When it snows, you can lift the vehicle out of that snowdrift without bothering to hire a tow truck and if the roads are too icy, strap the car to your back and walk it home.
Packing passengers and parcels into a tiny car does present problem but if you have a basket on the roof and a few strategically placed bungee cords you can manage quite nicely.
There is a downside to all this. Cities will lose thousands of pounds in traffic tickets and meter fees if three cars can fit into one parking space. There go all the money used to pay meter maids and city workers. There go all the money our cities took from its drivers to pay for all their civic dinners.
The other challenge the tiny car presents is cramming a tall human being behind its wheel. The Armadillo-T is so small that anyone over 6 feet would be better served to pay a pound and rent a bicycle.
Necessity is indeed the mother of invention, isn’t it? Now that we have a folding car, what next? Perhaps a highway we can roll up and put in the boot if it gets too crowded or even more efficient, motorized boots so we can speed to our destination on our own two feet.