Rinspeed UC? – click above for high-res image gallery
When we get to Geneva next March, eccentric Swiss design house Rinspeed will be showing off a design for a new electric commuter vehicle called the "UC?" The design of the car itself doesn't appear to be particularly novel with styling that looks like a cross between the Smart ForTwo and Fiat 500 (not to mention the Aston Martin Cygnet from earlier today).
However, Rinspeed is proposing an interesting approach to extending the range of the EV. Because the UC? is only 2.5 meters long, it could theoretically take advantage of the same kind of perpendicular parking that many Smart drivers use. With that in mind, Rinspeed is proposing that railroads build special train cars that would allow the UC? to be driven straight on and off for travel between cities where the 75 mile nominal plug range would make travel impractical. Since most European trains are electric, it's even conceivable that drivers could plug in their UC? models during the train trip. Rinspeed hopes to offer up the UC? to outside manufacturers who may want to build it.
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For the first time in its long history of developing groundbreaking concept cars the Swiss automobile and concept powerhouse Rinspeed is creating not just a car but a entire mobility concept. The highly likeable two-seater is powered by an electric motor and is aptly named "UC?", which stands for "Urban Commuter" or "You see?". It was designed for possible future series production.
Nomen est omen: The little speedster measures just 2.50 meters in length and is intended to help avoid gridlock in the inner cities. At the same time an advanced railcar loading system will add the option to cover long distances by train, comfortable, without traffic jams and stress-free. The desired mobile carport with integrated battery charging station is conveniently booked via the internet.
Rinspeed boss Frank M. Rinderknecht: "UC? - it's a new and highly emotional web-based car world that interweaves individual and public transport in an intelligent way. We want to create a community of people who are open for a new definition of mobility."
The lightweight "lovebug" is operated with a central joystick and delivers 124 Newton meters of torque. It reaches a top speed of 110 km/h and has an operating range of 120 kilometers. But the most important aspect of the vehicle is that there is a good chance that it will be built in series production. The concept is designed be easily adapted and integrated by volume manufacturers. Intensive dialogues at the highest levels are already well underway.
The partners and suppliers in the "UC?" project are:
Absaar GmbH - www.absaar.com
AEZ Leichtmetallräder GmbH - www.aez-wheels.com
AkzoNobel Car Refinishes - www.akzonobel.com
A.T. Kearney Global Management Consultants - www.atkearney.com
Carl F. Bucherer - www.carl-f-bucherer.com
Coop Genossenschaft - www.coop.ch
Die Agentur, Werbeagentur GmbH - www.dieagentur-group.com
J. Eberspächer GmbH & Co. KG - www.eberspaecher.com
Elektrizitätswerke des Kantons Zürich - www.ekz.ch
Esoro AG - www.esoro.ch
Harman/Becker Automotive Systems - www.harmanbecker.com
Li-Tec Battery GmbH - www.li-tec.de
Motorex Bucher Langenthal AG - www.motorex.com
Paravan GmbH - www.paravan.de
Pirelli Tyre (Europe) S.A. Swiss Market - www.pirelli.ch
Rafi GmbH &Co. KG - www.rafi.de
Rehau AG & Co. - www.rehau.com
Sellner GmbH - www.sellner.de
Sibu Design GmbH & CoKG - www.sibu.at
Ticona GmbH - www.ticona.de
VDO - Continental Automotive Switzerland AG - www.continental-corporation.com
Special thanks to:
Xmobil Design + Marketing GmbH - www.xmobil.de
Dominic Wuffli + Cédric Facchin
Forward-Looking Statements - This news release contains forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by the Rinspeed management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.