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Rinspeed Budii Aims to “Redefine Relationship Between Man and Machine”

"Trans-urban concept car" designed to learn as it drives.

by on Dec.10, 2014

The Rinspeed Budii appears to be an autonomous take on the new BMW i3 electric vehicles.

With the first autonomous vehicles likely heading to showrooms within the next decade, there’s little doubt life on the road will begin to change.  But exactly how? That’s a question garnering a lot of attention these days.  If our cars can handle the morning commute on their own, what will we be doing during our morning commute?

One thing seems certain, self-driving vehicles will “redefine the relationship between man and machine,” suggests Frank Rinderknecht.

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He’s better known as the visionary behind Rinspeed, a Swiss consulting firm that offers its take on the automobiles of the future with a series of concept vehicles that regularly appear at the annual Geneva Motor Show.

And the upcoming show will feature Rinspeed’s new Budii, which the firm calls a “trans-urban concept car.”

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Rinspeed’s Autonomous XchangE Readying for Geneva Debut

Model S-inspired sedan aims to draw travelers.

by on Feb.18, 2014

XchangE, an autonomous vehicle concept from Swiss maker Rinspeed, will appear at this year's Geneva Auto Show.

Automakers of all types are working up ways to bring an autonomous vehicle to the market. There is plenty of trepidation on the part of potential consumers about how these vehicles will perform.

Fortunately, Rinspeed is not only focused on that, but also on how it will look. The Swiss specialty automaker released some photos of what its XchangE autonomous vehicle may look like and the words Tesla Model S spring to mind.

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The company is planning on displaying the concept at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. The maker looks like it simply dropped a lime green body kit from Tesla on to a chassis, including a front bumper with gaping air dams, lime green paint, yellow trim pieces, larger rims, and a rear spoiler. (more…)

First Look: Rinspeed MicroMax

My, your, our car?

by on Dec.11, 2012

Part car, part bus, the Rinspeed MicroMax Concept will debut at the Geneva Motor Show.

One of the big draws of the annual Geneva Motor Show is the assortment of odd and unusual brands we’re likely never to see anywhere else – certainly not during the rest of the auto show season. And few brands are likely to deliver more quirky surprises than Rinspeed.

The Swiss-based engineering house has made a specialty of coming up with odd and unusual concept vehicles that can fly, swim and, yes, even drive. Rinspeed’s emphasis in recent years has been on products designed for urban environments, like the matchbox-sized UC? and the Dock+Go electric, which could be loaded on a train for trips longer than its batteries could handle.

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This year, Rinspeed founder Frank Rinderknecht has come up with another oddball design that nonetheless boasts just enough good ideas to get us to sit up and take notice.  Like the earlier Dock+Go, MicroMax is designed to merge personal and public transportation into one vehicle, summed up by the odd declaimer: “My, your, our car.”

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First Look: Rinspeed’s Over-the-top Dock+Go Concept

A “backpack on wheels.”

by on Dec.07, 2011

Rinspeed's "backpack on wheels," the Dock+Go concept, will debut in Geneva.

Leave it to Frank Rinderknecht and his team of over-the-edge designers at Switzerland’s Rinspeed.  They’ve come up with a two-piece concept vehicle that they liken to a “backpack on wheels.”

Whenever a release from Rinspeed crosses the digital transom you can expect something unusual.  The design house has come up with submersible cars, cars that slip into specially designed trains and all manner of other off-the-wall transportation concepts.  The latest fits that reputation.

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But, surprisingly, the Dock+Go isn’t entirely original.  Chrysler offered up its own version of a two-part show car two decades ago, one that functioned like a minivan with the stowable rear unit attached.  But throw a few levers and it released a small minicar up front.

With the Rinspeed Dock+Go, the main part of the concept is a battery-powered city car that should seem familiar – a Smart fortwo.  A variety of “backpacks,” riding a single axle, can be paired up, depending on personal needs.

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BamBoo-zled?

Rinspeed wants to clear your mind.

by on Mar.03, 2011

The Rinspeed BamBoo - where is Brigette Bardo when you need her.

A surprisingly large chunk of real estate at the annual Geneva Motor Show is dedicated to specialty manufacturers and so-called “tuners,” some reasonably well-known, like Brabus, others likely to put in an appearance and then never be heard from again.

But each Geneva show, Frank Rinderknecht, founder and CEO of Rinspeed Inc., is on hand  to present something that is, well, a bit out of the ordinary.

Maybe you remember the E-Go Rocket that was presented in 1998, inspired by the record setting cars of the Bonneville Salt Flats, or the Splash, the sports car that turns into an amphibious vehicle that made it to the ‘Salon’ in 2004.

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Then there was the even more extreme 2008 sQuba, a car that could “fly” under water, inspired by the James Bond movie ‘The Spy who loved me.

Now, the small Swiss automobile specialist has created the BamBoo, a speedster designed to remind you of sunny days on St. Tropez, the famous beach resort in the South of France.

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First Look: Rinspeed UC Commuter Car

More than a car, it’s a “mobility concept.”

by on Dec.16, 2009

The Rinspeed UC? isn't just a commuter car, the company asserts, but an entire "mobility concept."

The Rinspeed UC? isn't just a commuter car, it's said, but an entire "mobility concept."

We’re always intrigued when e-mail comes in from the quirky Swiss design house, Rinspeed.  Over the years, they’ve come up with flying cars, floating cars, and even a vehicle that can reconfigure its interior layout depending on how many passengers it’s carrying.

But the latest design exercise, due to make a more formal appearance at the Geneva Motor Show, early in 2010, is decidedly more than just another concept vehicle.  It is, in the company’s words, “an entire mobility concept.”

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Tomorrow!

The goal is to create “a new and highly emotional web-based car world that interweaves individual and public transport in an intelligent way. We want to create a community of people who are open for a new definition of mobility,” says Rinspeed boss Frank M. Rinderknecht.  If you want to cut through the hyperbole, read on.

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Egg-Mobiles, Swimming Cars, Solar Power and Other Assorted Swiss Auto Show Oddities

You can find almost anything at the Geneva Motor Show.

by on Mar.05, 2009

The Geneva Motor Show attracts 100 or more makers, including tuners, specialty makers, designers like Pininfarina -- its Bollore, shown here -- and other auto wannabes.

The Geneva Show attracts 100 or more makers, tuners, designers like Pininfarina -- its Bollore, above -- and other auto wannabes.

Ask anyone who works the international auto show circuit and you’ll likely get the same answer over and over again. The annual Geneva Motor Show seems to be just about everyone’s perennial favorite.

For newshounds, the event can be grueling to cover, considering there’s a news conference roughly every 15 minutes, from dawn to dusk, and you’ll jostle with thousands of colleagues for a good view and a better camera angle. But you’ll get a flood of news, especially if you’re sharp at spotting the assorted industry leaders who make their annual pre-Spring pilgrimage to Geneva’s PalExpo convention center.

Indeed, it’s a great place for executives, analysts and, well, just about anyone with a stake in the business to come together, formally or not. Wander the show’s crowded aisles and you might just spot Daimler CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche grabbing a few moments with his erstwhile rival, BMW Chief Norbert Reithofer. And even the highest-ranking executives seemed a little star-struck when the “Governator,” California’s Arnold Schwarzenegger, wandered into PalExpo Wednesday morning, presumably on his own nickel and not California’s taxpayers.

Geneva brings out the automotive eccentrics, including one hopeful showing an egg-shaped car running on compressed air.

Geneva brings out the automotive eccentrics, including one hopeful showing an egg-shaped car running on compressed air.

Yet for many of us in the media, one of the most intriguing features of the Geneva Motor Show is the collection of unusual, and sometimes downright oddball automakers who share floor space with more mainstream manufacturers, such as Mercedes, Opel, Renault and Toyota.

Considering its national history – and with no major manufacturer of its own – the Swiss show is considered neutral territory, where anyone with the dollars to set up a stand can find space, and some of the strangest brands grab some of the most valuable real estate.

A few names are fairly well known to automotive aficionados, like the design house, Pininfarina, which brought its Bollore Concept to the ’09 Geneva show. The event is a good way not only to get its name out to the public, but to remind industry executives that it’s ready to lend its design magic to their products.

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Sneak Peek: 2010 Rinspeed iChange

Adapting to the world outside … and inside.

by on Feb.16, 2009

Rinspeed iChange: 1, 2 or 3-seater at the touch of a button

Rinspeed iChange: 1, 2 or 3-seater at the touch of a button

We’ve grown accustomed to seeing some strange and intriguing designs from Frank Rinderknecht, and his Swiss-based Rinspeed. Over the years, he’s turned up at the annual Geneva Motor Show with an assortment of automobiles that can fly, swim and, yes, even drive down paved roads. But the show car Rinspeed plans to preview at the 2009 Geneva Salon International de l’Auto looks to be one of his most unorthodox works yet.

Dubbed the Rinspeed iChange, “It’s the world’s first car whose body adapts to the number of passengers on board,” according to Rinderknecht, who wants to position iChange as, “a symbol for the fundamental changes the auto industry undergoes worldwide.”

One minute, the zero-emissions iChange is a single-seater. But press a button and it converts to a roomy three-seater. “We have designed and built an extremely flexible vehicle,” contends Rinderknecht. “In it we have brought the themes of versatility and continually changing energy demands to their logical conclusions.”

Developed for Rinspeed by the European engineering firm, Esoro, the 2300-pound iChange is powered by a compact lithium-ion battery and electric motor propulsion system that turns out 150 kw, or 200 horsepower. It can launch from 0 – 100 kmh (0 – 62.5 mph) in just over four seconds, Rinspeed claims, and tops out at 220 kmh, or nearly 140 mph.

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