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Rinspeed releases details of microMAX "swarm car" concept


February 25, 2013

Rinspeed has more to show about its microMAX EV concept

Rinspeed has more to show about its microMAX EV concept

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Rinspeed has released more information about and images of its microMAX EV concept, now invoking the smart city with its description of the vehicle as "the networked swarm car." The company has released a host of images which give a more detailed idea of Rinspeed CEO Frank M. Rinderknecht's vision for an efficient, space-saving mode of urban vehicle which clearly hopes to catch the eye of taxi operators and parcel delivery firms. It's the interior images that are perhaps most interesting of all.

Despite having grown 10 cm since our first look in December, the microMAX remains compact-ish at 3.7 meters (12.1 ft) in length. The "hitherto unseen spaciousness" that Rinspeed claims the vehicle offers is achieved through the near-standing position adopted by the passengers and the driver, which is now brought about by seats which are rather more like bicycle saddles (and therefore not the most comfortable looking seats in the world). Of course this requires extra height, and the microMAX remains 2.2 meters (7.2 feet) tall. Rinspeed claims this has required the development of a custom-designed seat belt by TRW.

The comfort offered by the seats may be up for debate

It's thought that the upright standing positions aid the car's "hop-on-ability," arguably making it more convenient as an urban taxi where convenience arguably trumps comfort. Not that comfort is ground that Rinspeed is willing to cede, with the included coffee maker and refrigerator cited as evidence of (superfluous) luxury, though the iPads shown in the images seem to be a new addition. Such gadgetry is a distraction. A much more compelling feature is the floorspace, extremely useful for bag-laden travelers making their way to airports or rail stations.

To aid passenger convenience, Rinspeed envisages a smart hailing system with which users need only enter their desired destination into a dedicated smartphone app. It isn't a stretch to understand that the app could report the user's setting-off point, but Rinspeed implies that an "urbanSWARM" system would allow the intelligent coordination of vehicles in real-time. A taxi truly integrated into the smart city needn't stop there, and could plan routes according to traffic and accidents, coordinate with other transport networks, among many things.

Rinspeed has revealed that the car would use a forklift drive system from Linde Material Handling, and would come emit fake engine noises for the benefit of pedestrians.

Doubtless the boxy look of the microMAX is likely to prompt some criticism, though Gizmag has seen some extraordinary vitriol aimed at the vehicle, judging the car as if it were targeted at comfort travel for the consumer market, which it clearly isn't. Though Rinspeed may not yet have hit upon the ideal form for the inner-city electric taxi, this thought-provoking concept can only further the conversation.

Source: Rinspeed

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life. All articles by James Holloway

I love Rinspeed's vehicles that meet some wild aspirations. The need or improvement of this gadget, over any existing devices, escapes me, and it's function is not very interesting. Once you've done telescoping cars, hydrofoil cars, submarine cars, not much left to work on, except maybe RINSPEED, HOW ABOUT PUTTING YOUR EXCEPTIONAL TALENTS TO A FLYING CAR OR HELICOPTER CAR OR A WATER CROSSING HILL CLIMBING HOVERCRAFT CAR THAT ARE REAL WORLD PRACTICAL, that would be A stretch your incredible capabilities.

Dave B13

I would start a courier/delivery/taxi business just for the honor of being in on the ground floor of implementing such an intelligent vehicle. Anybody who ridicules such a practical transportation idea deserves ridicule himself. However, if it is rear wheel drive (as - incredibly - so many concepts are), I rescind the compliment and jump on the ridicule bandwagon.

Fritz Menzel

Fritz, your head is too fat for my bandwagon, get your own. Looking at Rinspeeds previous work the thing is probably all wheel drive, all wheel steering, the tires don't need air, and the suspension is all done with magnets.

Dave B13
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