• Dec 16th 2009 at 10:58AM
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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.

[Source: Rinspeed]

press release

A Clever E-Speedster to Fight Gridlock

Automobile, Train and the Web Form a New Kind of Symbiosis at the Geneva Motor Show 2010 (March 4th - 14th, 2010)

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.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is UC? a question? Why is there a punctuation after it? I can understand the VW UP!, but UC? doesn't make any sense...
        • 5 Years Ago
        ROFL...Admittedly, this thing is tiny, but the idea behind it is quite novel. I just wish it had more character in its design.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think the train idea has potential! I realize the idea is to reduce the total # of cars in downtown cores, but at least around Toronto I could see someone drive the 15 km's from their home in Whitby or even Barrie, to the train station, then sit in their car on the train into Toronto while they eat breakfast and read the news (on-board Tim Horton's delivery, I assume). Another 10 km drive from Union station to work, then repeat on the way home.

      Obviously there are a lot of challenges, but like I said, potential as well.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Very good article.I think this site will do better in future.

      thank you for your comments

      • 5 Years Ago

      MY friend said< Marlena you have great intuitions. :) Nice a little car>:P
      • 5 Years Ago
      Are you sure this is from Rinspeed? Where is the weird styling?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Fiat 500?
        • 5 Years Ago
        That's what I thought... except that it's just the cues crafted onto an iQ... sort of.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Fiat 500 meets Alfa MiTo (the rear end)
        • 5 Years Ago
        (Hmm, what I did miss is that Switzerland, where this seems to be based and illustrated for, does have some pretty wide trains that can't actually leave the country. And it hates cars. And is full of mountains, which are killers for battery vehicles. So it could work as a purely internal thing...)

        BTW - controlled by a central joystick? Why do people keep coming up with this loopy idea? It's been batted around in several electric and conventional vehicles since at least the 70s and never, ever got anywhere. It's like.... oh.... no-one's going to pay attention to our at one time innovative but now fairly samey little car. I know! Let's make it joystick controlled! And.... er... have it ride trains between cities, like some cutesy robot that wants to be a human! :D
      • 5 Years Ago
      Do want!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Looking good! This is one of the few micro cars that doesn't get lost in funk.

      Hope it gets produced!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nice rendering of a Fiat 500...fetus.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Um .. ok.. so how harshly is this stuff moderated? Because some of my comments have shown and some haven't - making one of the shown ones look a bit confusing.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Looks a lot nicer than the smart. I'd love to see it come into production
      • 5 Years Ago
      looks cool enough - but not much character to the exterior styling
      • 5 Years Ago
      'Since most European trains are electric'

      u.s.a is poor, they keep wasting trizillions tons of diesel on their trains @ turtle speed.
      while our normal comuters trains go 120km/h on airbags and hardly any sound.
      : )

      nice car, but the name misleads.
      the guy spend pretty much his whole life inventing things on other people's wallet.
      now that's cool.
      cool rims.
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