The devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2011 inspired numerous innovations meant to prevent future disasters. That includes one man's dream of a floating car.
Hideo Tsurumaki, a former Toyota employee, witnessed people trying to escape the tidal onslaught in their cars only to be swept away in the destruction. He later founded Fomm Corp., which aims to build small, waterproof cars that can actually float. He sees them as not just potential ways to get around, but as safety investments.
“I intend to put one outside our house,” Tsurumaki . “Many others will probably think the same.”
While Tsurumaki's Fomm sells itself first as the world's smallest electric four-seater, it's water-resistance and ability to float will give it a leg up in rainy southeast Asian environs (the car is being built in Thailand). While Fomm's website notes that the Fomm Concept One is " is not an amphibious vehicle" and stresses that "movement capability on water is limited," any capability in the water is better than none.
The Fomm car will be a city commuter, driving 160 kilometers (99 miles) on a single battery charge with a top speed of 80 kilometers per hour (50 mph). It replaceable batteries and a heat-storage system custom built for southeast Asia. With funding in place, Tsurumaki hopes to build 10,000 cars by the end of year. If the safety-and-compact message of the Fomm takes hold, he's got hopes of taking the company public.
By removing the combustible engine, electric cars are proving to be experimental proving grounds for all sorts of car companies. Everyone from Tsurumaki to are working with electric vehicles. That's probably because of new studies saying that by 2025, 1 in 6 cars being sold .