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Spanish firm Hiriko has chosen Axeon, Europe’s largest independent supplier of lithium-ion battery systems, to supply batteries for its prototype electric vehicles.

The urban electric two-seaters, which will be built in Vitoria-Gasteiz, feature a unique folding design that allows them to park in a very limited space, with a single access door at the front of the vehicle and an advanced steer-by-wire system, which removes all mechanical steering components.

During the first quarter of 2012, Axeon will supply each Hiriko prototype with two powerful lithium-ion batteries mounted in parallel – one in each half of the vehicle, with electric wheel-mounted motors providing four-wheel steering and four-wheel drive.

Hiriko intends to franchise its production model to enable the vehicles to be locally and sustainably produced by a number of consortia in different markets. Hiriko urban electric vehicles will be particularly targeted at large cities in which they will be available for rental. In 2012, the vehicles will be homologated and the prototypes will be tested in cities around the world, with the expectation that they will come to market in 2013.

Lawrence Berns, Axeon CEO, said: “We are delighted to be involved in this exciting and pioneering project with Hiriko. Their selection of Axeon as battery supplier underlines our ability to provide solutions for different vehicle types and adapt our technology to suit a wide range of applications – from traditional vehicles to more challenging designs and concepts.”

The first Hiriko electric vehicle was unveiled on 24th January 2012 at the European Commission’s headquarters. Hiriko is part of a sustainable mobility project, which ultimately aims to reduce the number of conventional vehicles in the new urban areas.