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Revealed: The world's tiniest car

Posting in Design

Will 'wearable', lego-like cars be the future for our roads?

In the latest episode of popular BBC series Top Gear, host Jeremy Clarkson took the world's tiniest car, the P45 microcar, out for a test run. The results?

Designed by students at Coventry University and based on the Peel P50, the design team took on the challenge to create the smallest car which could conceivably be driven on the road. An aluminium body and all of the trappings including lights, signals and a license plate to make it legal to drive on British roads, the P45 also comes with blue racing stripes and and helmet windscreen wiper to help your visibility in poor weather.

Instead of a standard hop-in, shut-the-door design, the P45's "doors" close across the drivers chest... once you've fit into the suit which allows you to control the vehicle. This is pretty handy if you're not inclined to leave your car, as the driver's arms are always free.

Aside from being able to duck and weave through traffic like a motorbike, the legoman-like P45 doesn't seem all too comfortable, judging by Clarkson's continual yelps of pain. Jumping over potholes and trying to go too quickly in windy conditions resulted in this pithy statement:

"This is the way to drive it -- with your head already on the 'windscreen,' so your head doesn't smash into it."

Another "slight" problem is the 1.7 litre tank, especially considering a number of U.K. fuel stations have a two-litre minimum purchase. Most likely for comedic affect but still making a fair point, our Top Gear host was forced to throw the remaining 0.3 liters away into a trashcan.

Technically, the vehicle -- reminiscent of a golf cart but not as comfortable -- is allowed on U.K. motorways and carriageways. But as you can see in the video below, driving it down the A3 at 34mph doesn't seem the best idea.

"Ladies and gentlemen, you're witnessing the birth of the future," Clarkson says.

Let's hope not.

(Hat tip: Slate)

— By on February 5, 2013, 7:58 PM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure