The avant-garde Swiss car design firm Rinspeed, has released more details on its “mobility concept” for the 2010 Geneva Auto Show it’s Rinspeed UC Concept. The UC? Concept (“UC” stands for Urban Commuter) is a battery-powered electric vehicle (EV) that can be loaded onto a train — allowing long-distance commuters to take their car with them and drive it at their destination.
The signature feature of all the concept cars from Swiss car visionary Frank M. Rinderknecht that have added colorful bright spots to the Geneva Motor Show for many years. Rinspeed boss Rinderknecht always has a surprise up his sleeve and this year is no different.
Once again he does what nobody would have expected from the whiz kid known in the past for his affinity for powerful machines: He’s building a subcompact car. But that’s not all: For the first time in the long history of its concept cars the Swiss automobile and concept powerhouse has developed not just a vehicle but an entire mobility concept.
The car itself is a two-seat EV built by engineering firm Esoro of Switzerland. Its bubble shape recalls the Fiat Topolino, Rinspeed points out. The UC? is 102 inches long and 64 inches wide, and built atop a very short 71-inch wheelbase. It uses lithium-ion battery pack, which powers an electric motor capable of a scant 40 horsepower and 96 pound-feet of torque. The UC? is meant for city use only, so top speed is only 75 mph, according to Rinspeed.
Rinspeed contracted with several other companies to dress up its showcar. A company called Akzo Nobel mixed up a batch of color-changing paint that goes from yellow to green and back. Swarovski designed a crystal “tank lid” to cover the 230-volt plug. Lastly, the UC? gets a “futuristic” instrument cluster that includes a Swiss watch from Carl F. Bucherer.
Rinderknecht says his idea holds the solution to a major objection people have to electric cars: their limited driving range. Although the UC? has a relatively short range of 65 miles, Rinspeed envisions rail cars with charging stations, allowing the cars to charge en route to your office.