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Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have unveiled a prototype electric car that folds in half.

The Armadillo-T was conceived by a research team led by In-Soo Suh, associate professor of the Graduate School for Green Transportation at KAIST, to enable drivers to park in tight spots within dense urban environments.

When folded, the micro-car shrinks from 2.8 metres down to 1.65 metres. "Once folded, the small and lightweight electric vehicle takes up only one-third of a five metre parking space, the standard parking size in Korea," said Suh.

Suh and his team based the car's design on the behaviour of an armadillo, which rolls into a ball when faced with threats from predators. "Just as armadillos hide themselves inside the shell, Armadillo-T tucks its rear body away," Suh said.

Using a remote control, drivers can roll up the back of the car, spin it 360 degrees into the correct position and reverse it snugly into a parking space.

The prototype car features two seats and it has a motor in each of the four wheels. The vehicle's battery and motors stay in the same place when the car folds.

It weighs 450 kilograms, has a maximum speed of 60 kilometres per hour and can travel 100 kilometres on a 10 minute charge of the battery.

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