Few vehicle concepts get the juices flowing like those from the tinkerers at Rinspeed, who like to tug at the strings of future mobility with crazy amphibious street machines and transparent, hard-topped sports cars. The Swiss automaker has now shared a new details about its latest concept ahead of a full reveal at CES next month, describing a two-part electric vehicle designed to be recycled and upgraded to keep pace with fast-moving automotive technologies.
We first learnt of Rinspeed's Snap back in October, and the basic concept isn't really that novel. Its name is taken from the various components of the vehicle to "snap" into place, primarily the pod built to carry passengers and the skateboard equipped with the mechanics to carry that pod.
This is the kind of combo we've seen makeup a long line of concept vehicles, including a handful from General Motors, most recently its Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure, which uses replaceable bodies on a fuel cell skateboard. Rinspeed's thinking is that Snap's detachable pod can be replaced when need be, but when not carrying passengers it can be put to use as a camping pod, shopping space, "cozy cuddling pod" or perhaps other less romantic types of micro-dwellings.
Inside those pods is soft leather seating, storage space, wireless charging systems and a host of screens for displaying movies, along with messages and route information. Onboard is an intelligent assistant that learns the habits of passengers and can even recommend user-specific restaurants. On the outside, six projectors light up the windows with messages for other road users, such as "Right of way granted" and "Caution, Children."
The skateboard, meanwhile, is fitted with an electric powertrain and two steering axels that Rinspeed says allow Snap to turn practically on a dime. It also hosts the hardware and software needed to make the vehicle autonomous, along with other fast-aging mechanical and IT bits and pieces. Rinspeed's thinking is that these will wear out or become outdated much quicker than the pod, and can be recycled after a few years.
Snap will be on show at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, which runs from January 8 to 12.
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