With the 2010 Geneva Auto Show just about to begin, we’re always excited to see what sort of brilliantly odd creation Swiss based Rinspeed will debut.
With the 2010 Geneva Auto Show just about to begin, we’re always excited to see what sort of brilliantly odd creation Swiss based Rinspeed will debut. Last year you’ll remember the company showed the first car to be controlled by an iPhone. This year they will unveil the UC which stands for Urban Commuter. While past Rinspeed concepts fall more into the category of wildly outrageous, the UC was designed to to be ready for future production, The two-seat electric drive concept is more a study of a future potential for mobility than just a car.
The goal of the UC project was to look for a solution to integrate individual car ownership and public transportation. Rinspeed propose the addition of a new rail car that will will allow UC’s to be driven in perpendicular to the train for faster loading and unloading. Charging stations in the rail car would ensure that once at a destination rail station, the cars would be fully charged and ready to go. Owners of the UC would also be able to book tickets on the fly from inside the car. This merging of car and train aims to reduce long distance driving and traffic and conserve energy.
If the exterior design of the UC looks vaguely familiar, think of a Smart ForTwo and Fiat 500 sampled and remixed into a new design. The profile has that distinctive Smart car wedge shape but much of the surfaces have been smoothed out and rounded. It isn’t the wildest piece of rolling sculpture seen from Rinspeed but we haven’t gotten to the interior yet.
Finding the drivers side door is the first dilemma, there isn’t one. In fact, a look inside reveals there isn’t a traditional steering wheel to be seen. Instead the car is driven by a centrally positioned force-feedback joystick. So which ever seat the car is piloted from depends more on if the driver is right-handed or left-handed. The new joystick technology is supplied by German electronics specialist Rafi. Rinspeed boss Frank Rinderknecht says: “Forget everything you have learned about joysticks so far. Finally this system provides a better steering feel and clear feedback from the road.” The entire car is operated via Space Drive, a drive-by-wire system developed by Paravan, one of the leading manufacturers of handicap vehicles.
Also not hard to miss is the retina searing lime yellow and orange interior.