Rinspeed's next concept car continues the tradition of surprise

Rinspeed logo.jpg
Rinspeed logo.jpg

In brief: Frank Rinderknecht, the man behind the always-inspired Rinspeed concept cars, has announced the next vehicle on his list. He's also making some provocative predictions about the near future of the EV.

Vehicle in the news

Make/Model: Urban Commuter EV
Manufacturer: Rinspeed

The word

There is nobody in the automotive industry even remotely like Rinspeed CEO Frank Rinderknecht. His Swiss car company, Rinspeed, has produced nearly twenty concept cars over the years, including the miraculous Rinspeed sQuba, a vehicle straight out of 007, literally, and the Rinspeed iChange, which actually changed shape to accommodate just the right number of passengers.


Clockwise from top left: Rinspeed sQuba; Zazen; Senso; iChange.

No surprise then that his next vehicle is as much of a surprise as the ones that came before it. Rinderknecht told the Cleantech group that his next car will be an all-electric commuter car, the Urban Commuter (UC). And instead of packing all sorts of wild concepts, the UC would appear to be quite tame; at 8.2 feet long (2.5 m) by 5.2 feet wide (1.6 m), it'll be smaller than a smartcar.

Remarkably, he claims a prototype will be finished by January 2010 and the car will debut at Geneva in March. Calling the vehicle "a business card just to show what we can do", Rinderknecht says his role in the auto industry is to provoke other car makers to adopt aspects of his concepts, which they can do freely since he does not patent the technology.

And so ….

Finally, Rinderknecht predicted that, three years from now car makers like Tesla Motors and Think Global, as well as ideas such as Shai Agassi's Better Place will all have gone under, chiefly because the manufacturers will resist standardizing batteries while Better Place's entire business model relies upon it.

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