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Does my EV's butt look big in this? Rinspeed's range-extending "Dock+Go" concept

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December 7, 2011

Rinspeed's modular 'Dock Go' concept comprises a vehicular backpack that docks to the rear...

Rinspeed's modular 'Dock Go' concept comprises a vehicular backpack that docks to the rear of an electric vehicle

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Rinspeed is renowned for producing exotic concept vehicles for the Geneva Motor Show each year - the aquatic sQuba and shape-shifting iChange being two prime examples. The 2012 show looks like it will be no exception. We've seen external battery packs designed to increase the battery life of a smartphone, and now Rinspeed's "Dock+Go" concept brings the same idea to electric vehicles in the form of a vehicular backpack that docks to the rear of an electric vehicle to extend not only their range, but also their cargo-carrying capabilities.

The modular Dock+Go mobility system from the fertile mind of Rinspeed founder and CEO Frank M. Rinderknecht sees single axel packs that can be attached or detached from an electric vehicle depending on the demands of the day.

In addition to an "energy pack" that could extend the range of an electric vehicle by adding a combustion engine, range extender, or batteries powered by a fuel cell to the rear of a vehicle, Rinderknecht also envisions other packs to extend the capabilities of the host vehicle in other ways - a pack for pizza delivery cars featuring an integrated heated box to keep pizzas hot or a toolbox pack with customized spaces for a tradesperson's tools, for example.

Rinspeed's 'Dock Go' concept sees modular packs that could be attached and detached from a...

The modular system would also allow work packs to be swapped out at the end of the working day for recreational packs customized for various activities, such as camping, golfing, skiing, or hitting the beach.

While Rinderknecht chose the electric smart fortwo as the basis for a demonstration of the concept, he says the range-extending packs - which would result in what he calls "Vario-Hybrids" - could be designed for any electric car. Rinspeed will be presenting its "Dock+Go" concept at the 82nd Geneva International Motor Show, which runs from March 8-18, 2012.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
8 Comments

Not a new idea, certainly, but maybe one that will catch on...if the cost can be kept down. Most people finance their cars and if they have to shell out cash for this thing, or put it on a high-interest charge card, they might be reluctant. It's a still a good idea - especially in its various projected forms - and hopefully will have some success.

Neil Larkins
8th December, 2011 @ 09:54 am PST

I know of a few EV'rs how built range extender trailers. Either had a small generator or battery pack. So that part of this concept isn't new. It does actually make the smaller vehicle like the Smart Citi (believe that is what is being shown) have a chance at being useful. I've thought for a while the problem with them is that they needed more space behind the seats like a 2 seat mini mini van. The add on trailer with different configurations is a good way to achieve this. For the cargo versions I can see them being quite inexpensive with the gen/battery versions on the other end of the price range. Guess it is slightly better than my cutting apart a smart with a chainsaw and sticking an extra foot of wheelbase .

Wragie
8th December, 2011 @ 01:36 pm PST

Funny, but when GM brought out the EV 1 in the 90's I Had the idea of using a trailer with a Honda or similar generator for longer trips to eliminate range anxiety.

Today there are generator sets that are CARB approved. Figure you may need something in the 15 to 20.000 watt range. About 30 hp. Available on the internet.

This could be a viable option for Nissan Leaf and other all electric cars until the charging station network is built out.

I can picture a streamlined trailer with a small super efficient diesel generator and universal couplings and connections on electric cars so you could rent or buy a gen- trailer for long trips. U-Haul comes to mind.

Maybe offered as an accessory by Nissan for the Leaf or others .

Room for entrepreneurs.

stan lind
8th December, 2011 @ 02:08 pm PST

Yeah, let's hear it for the entrepreneurs! They thought of this in various forms long ago...and it's just now getting recognition by "legitimate" makers? As far as would-be makers, I remember back in the early 80's when Dallas-based Ed Ramirez was promoting his Exar-1. He was interviewed a number of times on WFAA radio and I saw his second prototype (I think it had a Giugiaro-designed body) at a Dallas auto show, along with a range-booster trailer as an option. He had a lot of problems, legal, financial and what all, but it was a great looking car.

Neil Larkins
8th December, 2011 @ 07:30 pm PST

A great deal of expense to make an overpriced under performing vehicle practical.

Slowburn
8th December, 2011 @ 07:34 pm PST

Great idea! Having several of these battery systems charging under a solar canopy (or garage) and ready for the next customer would make sense.

electric38
9th December, 2011 @ 01:52 am PST

Surely an opportunity here for the gas companies to rent these out as streamlined trailers, at gas stations at access points to interstates and similar highways. Use electric for the 90% of driving within range of home and totally eliminate range fear when needing long trips. It would need power connections at the rear of EVs instead of the typical front connectors, otherwise I see it as a real Win-Win approach.

cwigley
9th December, 2011 @ 12:10 pm PST

If it is not price too high, I can see it making the electric vehicle even more practical.

I am glad it is shown on a Smart car. :)

http://www.smartcarofamerica.com

BigWarpGuy
9th December, 2011 @ 05:27 pm PST
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