The iChange shape-changing concept car


December 28, 2008

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Each year for the last three decades, Swiss-based Rinspeed has presented a new concept car at the Geneva motor show – customizing Porsches might be the company’s bread and butter, but synthesizing highly inventive and original concept cars is the company’s forte. This year’s concept car is entitled the iChange, and its defining feature is its ability to change shape from a streamlined teardrop one-seater, to a three seat compact sportsvan. The iChange car makes the most of its 130 kw electric propulsion system by having very low weight and high aerodynamic efficiency.

Swiss off-the-wall thinker and Rinspeed founder Frank M. Rinderknecht is always good for constructing thought-provoking concept cars – a look through his concept cars of the last few decades shows us his fondness for adaptable automobiles – from cars that shorten to fit into parking spaces, to amphibious vehicles that both aquaplane and dive beneath the water, he has explored shape-changing to a degree previously. Details of the mechanism that allows the vehicle to change shape have not yet been disclosed, but it appears from the sketches released by the company that the entire roof raises to enable enough head space for two passengers, both seated behind the driver. For Mr. Rinderknecht the car’s name “iChange” means more than a flowery phrase: “If we want to preserve our individual mobility in the future, we have to re-think our conception of cars,” he said.

“Above all we need to accommodate the ecological aspects.

“The best possible answer the big automakers could find for the “iChange” would be a strong “Yes, we can!”

The car will be seen in working order at the 79th International Motor Show in Geneva which runs from March 5 to 15, 2009.

The partners and suppliers in the "iChange" project are: AEZ Leichtmetallräder GmbH

Carl F. Bucherer Die Agentur, Werbeagentur GmbH J. Eberspächer GmbH & Co. KG Esoro AG KGS Diamond Group AG

Harman International Industries, Inc. - Automotive Division Motorex Bucher Langenthal AG

Schoeller GmbH & CoKG

Siemens AG Strähle + Hess GmbH & Co. KG

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, (Australia's largest Telco), (Australia's largest employment site),,, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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