A Japanese company made a car with the transformers toys in mind. The car might be road ready by March 2018 (Images/video via Four Link Systems)


Owning a car comes at a few costs: from car payments, insurance payments, to the stress of sitting in traffic from time to time. Many people would rather use public transportation than owning a car. Some might argue that there are services like UBER, LYFT or a cab that can be the answer to all the issues related to owning a car. However, those options can end up costing more than the monthly expenses related to a car. Regardless, owning a car is necessary in some areas of the globe. For example, in the United States, depending on one's place of work and residence, a car is a must. However, in metropolitan areas, car owners face the challenge of finding parking. In those areas, parking is very expensive and rare. One startup in Japan set out to solve the problem of lack of parking.


Four Link Systems is a Japanese startup that created the Earth-1, a folding car inspired by the art of Origami or Folding paper, and the transformers toys which shift their shape from a car to a robot. Four-link System CEO confessed that the company initially started 5 years ago with the intent of beating Toyota cars, but realized that the car giant was too strong regarding performance, brand power and cost. So, Four Link's team decided to focus on design instead. They designed Earth-1 to fit in the smallest parking spaces. But the design of the car is more than functional.



Earth-1 is the result of the mind of cartoon specialist Kunio Okawara who knows a few things about transformation. From inside the car, the driver can change the shape of the car using a joystick, sort of like playing a video game. Four Link's leaders explained that they wanted to make the drivers of Earth-1 feel as if it was not a car, but something out of a Sci-fi movie. Put that way, it sounds like Earth-1 is designed specifically, for younger drivers. Kiroomi Kinoshita, the president of Four Link Systems, explains that the startup is trying to charm people who wouldn't be interested in buying a regular car.


Priced at US$70,000, Earth-1 is also an electric car. In other words, the startup is also competing with big names like Tesla which is the number brand offering electric cars so far. By making Earth-1 an electric car, Four Link can bet on attracting Gen-Y or millennials who are growing more and more conscious of their carbon footprint. Even though the car is not completely road-ready yet, the startup claims to have received already 30 orders from around the world. The projection is that 300 Earth-1s will be sold a year.



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