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.