26 February 2009

When three become one…

Rinspeed heads to its home motor show with a shape-shiftin’ concept

The Geneva motor show is nearly upon us, so it must be time for another kerrazy koncept from Swiss bizzarists at Rinspeed.

It’s called the iChange, a low-slung sports car powered by a lithium ion battery pack mated to an 201bhp electric motor. It’ll hit 60mph in just over four seconds and manage a top speed of about 130mph.

But – and there’s always a but with Rinspeed – here’s the kicker. It’s a one-seater… that’s also a three-seater! When you’re on your own in the car, the rear deck sits closed, but, says Rinspeed, “At the push of a button the rear end of the teardrop-shaped car "magically pops up to reveal two more seats."

Yes, they actually used the word ‘magically’. Doesn’t exactly inspire you with confidence, does it?

In fairness, the theory is a sound one: when you’re driving one-up, the iChange morphs into a more aerodynamic shape, saving fuel and energy.

Only problem is, Rinspeed doesn’t seem to be too clear on how it actually works: there’s lots of lovely information on how the interior functions can be controlled through your iPod, and how the alloys were inspired by classic Bugattis… but not a whole lot on how the clamshell roof changes form so magically.

And we can’t help noticing that, in the promotional video Rinspeed has released, the iChange sounds worryingly like a four-pot diesel. Hmm.

Perhaps all shall become clear in Geneva next week. It could be a work of genius. Hey, we laughed at that strange sQuba concept, and just look what happened to that. Er…

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