The Swiss custom car builders at Rinspeed don’t disappoint when it comes to their award winning show cars, and after announcing details about the UC? concept that is set to debut in March at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, we are certain that they will deliver. The UC is a new electric concept car created specially for urban commuters with the clever nickname, "You see?" Measuring just over 8 feet in length the UC’s electric motor produces 98 lb-ft of torque and is operated with a central joystick. The concept can hit a top speed of 68 MPH and has a 75 mile range on a single charge.
Rinspeed’s goal was to create a new mobility concept that integrates individual car ownership and public transportation by designing a logistics system that allows the Uban Commuter to traverse longer distances. Thanks to a transverse loading system using custom railcars that allows loading and unloading of numerous “UC?” vehicles simultaneously and in a very short time for increased efficiency. Train passages are booked and reserved online directly from inside the vehicle. Harman International provides the permanent 3G internet connection as well as a marvelous sound system. While VoIP2Car technology keeps the occupants connected to the outside world by providing IP telephone service, video chat, video conferences, e-mail and many more features in the “UC?”.
According to Rinspeed, the UC has a pretty good chance of going into production.
Press release after the jump.
Filled with emotions and new ideas - that is the signature feature of the concept cars from Swiss car visionary Frank M. Rinderknecht that have added colorful bright spots to the Geneva Motor Show for many years. Rinspeed boss Rinderknecht always has a surprise up his sleeve and this year is no different. Once again he does what nobody would have expected from the whiz kid known in the past for his affinity for powerful machines: He’s building a subcompact car. But that’s not all: For the first time in the long history of its concept cars the Swiss automobile and concept powerhouse has developed not just a vehicle but an entire mobility concept. The cute two-seater with electric drive is aptly called the “UC?” which stands for “Urban Commuter.” But the biggest surprise is that the “UC?” was designed to be ready for future series production. The little speedster measures less than 2.60 meters in length and is intended to help avoid gridlock in the inner cities. At the same time an advanced railcar loading system will add the option to cover long distances by train, comfortable, without traffic jams and stress-free.
The goal is to create a new mobility concept that integrates individual car ownership and public transportation. A transverse loading system using custom railcars allows loading and unloading of numerous “UC?” vehicles simultaneously and in a very short time. Train passages are booked and reserved online directly from the vehicle. Harman International provides the permanent 3G internet connection as well as marvelous sound on wheels. VoIP2Car technology provides IP telephone service, video chat, video conferences, e-mail and many more features in the “UC?”.
Integrated charging stations on board the custom railcars ensure that upon arrival at the destination the “UC?” battery is once again fully charged for maximum operating range. During the train trip drivers can visit the train restaurant, use any of the other train amenities or spend time in the privacy of their cars.
With this mobility concept Rinspeed elegantly circumvents the obstacle of limited operating range that so far has kept many interested parties from switching to zero-emission vehicles. As Frank M. Rinderknecht sees it: “I can make more efficient use of my time than spending it driving on a boring highway. I’d rather visit the train restaurant or retreat to work in my car.” The Swiss visionary is already in discussions with international railroad companies about his new mobility concept.
Anyone who lays eyes on the clever high-tech bubble for the first time is reminded of the Fiat ‘Topolino’ models from the ‘30s to ‘50s. This is loveable car design. Rinspeed boss Frank M. Rinderknecht: ““UC?” is 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.”
As in past years, the concept car was built by Swiss engineering company Esoro. The lightweight vehicle produces 130 Newton meters of torque, reaches a top speed of 120 km/h and has an operating range of 105 kilometers. That is more than enough for most traffic in urban areas. Statistics show that in Europe 82 percent of all trips cover distances of less than 60 kilometers - short-distance driving clearly represents the vast majority of all individual traffic.
The “UC?” also features a number of technical highlights: Goodbye steering wheel, hello force-feedback joystick. The new joystick technology is supplied by German electronics specialist Rafi. Rinderknecht says: “Forget everything you have learned about joysticks so far. Finally this system provides a better steering feel and clear feedback from the road.” The entire car is operated via Space Drive, a drive-by-wire system developed by Paravan, one of the leading manufacturers of handicap vehicles. Rinspeed and its partners had to master numerous challenges surrounding the electric drive system: The lithium-ion batteries come from Li-Tec-Battery in Germany, a joint venture of Evonik and Daimler AG.
The efficient and reliable on-board charger is supplied by specialist Absaar; the external stationary charger comes from ABB Sécheron. Axpo Holding is yet another energy company that partnered with Rinspeed on this project. The electric heater and sphere-shaped vents were installed by the specialists from Eberspächer. Rinspeed also received support from the consortium Swiss Coop, which promotes decisive action and zero-emission mobility, and from the power plants of the Canton of Zurich that provide electricity and the required infrastructure. To save as much energy as possible the developers have placed highest priority on lightweight design: Ticona, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of engineering polymers, plays a major part in achieving this objective.
The lightweight lift gate comes from Rehau, an OEM supplier for the automotive industry. The P7 Cinturato ‘Green Tires’ from Pirelli in size 195/40 R 17 are mounted on special lightweight rims from German-Austrian manufacturer AEZ. The delicate-looking rims weigh just 6.2 kilograms each. Eco-friendly lubricants are provided by Motorex. And of course the electric “love bug” has a number of features that will stir up emotions: An immediate eye-catcher is the paint that changes color from yellow to green. The paint was supplied by Akzo Nobel, one of the world’s largest paint manufacturers. A new adhesive paint called “Stickerfix” is perfect for touching up minor cosmetic paint blemishes sustained on the road.
The jazzy leather interior including aluminum inlays and a custom leather suitcase for the roof come from specialist Sellner Group. VDO Continental Automotive has designed a new futuristic instrument cluster for the “UC?” The new cluster also houses a Swiss-made mechanical watch from Swiss premium manufacturer Carl F. Bucherer. A beautiful crystal ‘tank lid’ from Swarovski covers the necessary 230-volt plug. A stylized laser-cut coil filament embedded in the crystal lid serves as a battery charge indicator: red=empty, orange=half charged, green=fully charged. Rinspeed wants to change the electric drive’s image: The “E” signifying the electric drive isn’t shamefully hidden but displayed openly and proudly: “Look here, I drive with electric power”.
The “UC?” is designed to be available in several distinct versions: The “Ultimate Commuter” is the comfortable lifestyle vehicle for urban commuters. The vehicle of choice for pizza deliveries, mail carriers and workmen in general will be the “Unlimited Commuter.” The experts from renowned A.T. Kearney Consultants designed the modular production strategy to ensure that the car will be built as cost efficient as possible. The ultimate goal is to serve many different types of use and configuration variations: It will take just three days to build an electric car. There is a good chance the “UC?” will enter series production. The concept is designed be easily adapted and integrated by volume manufacturers. Intensive dialogues at the highest levels are already well underway.
At the Geneva Motor Show 2010 Frank M. Rinderknecht demonstrates clearly how serious he is when it comes to mobility: While the other jewels of individual mobility develop flat spots in their tires on the various show stands, the globular “UC?” will turn in laps on a track covered with artificial fur from Sibu Design. Rinspeed guests can relax in a comfortable lounge furnished by Xmobil. HD displays from Sharp will feature high-def information about the “UC?” Every successful presentation relies on perfectly printed material: Fotorotar prints all “UC?” press kits and calendars at the highest level of quality. “Die Agentur” is in charge of the communication concept for the “UC?” from planning and designing the press kit and partner literature to the production of the introductory video. Hiwave contributes a Bluetooth marketing system for the Rinspeed exhibit at the show that provides visitors with information about the “UC?” and its partners.
Swiss Made - Esoro
Frank M. Rinderknecht used highly advanced technology and a Swiss-based network of top automotive specialists for his project. So the Rinspeed “UC?” fits perfectly to Esoro’s motto: engineered by Esoro - What you dream is what you get. For the eleventh time the Swiss engineering company Esoro was hired to serve as general contractor for the entire project. Esoro was responsible for project management, implementation of new technologies, engineering, rendering, design and the manufacturing of the Rinspeed “UC?”.
Esoro realized the Rinspeed “UC?” with the help of its competent suppliers. Starting with initial concepts, it took the highly skilled development team just three months to realize the entire project. For 19 years now, Esoro has been a contract developer of concept vehicles, components and products with main focus on lightweight construction, alternative drive trains and mobility. During this time Esoro has gained a well-deserved reputation for excellent efficiency and innovative solutions, which is demonstrated by numerous prototypes and serial products.
Esoro is also developing fiber reinforced components from initial conception up to pre-production samples. In-house specialists optimize the component properties and characteristics throughout the entire development process. Important steps are non-linear, strong orthotropic Finite Element Analysis and crash simulation.
Another recent development from Esoro is the new E-LFT production technology developed for Weber Automotive. E-LFT makes large scale production of high-strength and lightweight composite parts affordable. E-LFT composite parts weigh more than 30 percent less than comparable steel parts. The tailgate of the actual Smart Fortwo - the first serial produced E-LFT-component - was produced over 300’000 times since 2007 and received the JEC Innovation Automotive Award 2008.
Furthermore another production process for niche markets, like high performance cars, trucks and caravans is now under development at Esoro. The new and patented process called Melt Embossing offers the possibility to produce high-end thermoplastic composite parts with low initial invest for structural and semi-structural applications.
Since the company was founded, Esoro has been working intensively in the field of conception, implementation and tests of alternative and optimized vehicle concepts and drive systems. Esoro is thus one of the few companies in the world with well-founded experience in development and operation of electric, hybrid and fuel cell drives. The Rinspeed “UC?” proves impressively this competence using cutting edge technology.
Efficient solutions for the development of our sustainable le mobility - ABB powers electric vehicles on rail and road - ABB powering the railways
ABB is a global supplier of leading-edge technology for the rail industry. With a long history of providing reliable and innovative solutions, ABB has demonstrated superior capabilities in manufacturing the full scope of subsystems and components which are part of urban, inter-city and high-speed rail systems. ABB‘s portfolio includes traction equipment (converters, motors, transformers), low voltage components, semiconductors, auxiliary converters and battery chargers for rolling stock applications and complete trackside traction power supply systems, medium voltage switchgear, signaling, control and communication for rail infrastructure.
ABB powering road electric vehicles: ABB develops efficient components and systems to charge road electric vehicles. It commits itself: towards the electric vehicle driver - enabling safe recharging at the required speed towards utilities and infrastructure providers, - providing integrated and smart charging solutions towards the environment, - reducing CO2 emissions, - enhancing sustainability in the development of E-Mobility.
Charging stations: Alternating current based charging stations offer: Standard charging: 230V plug (10A/16A) charging time approximately 2 hours per 50 km (depending on vehicle), fast charging: 400V plug (32A) charging time approximately 20 minutes per 50 km (depending on vehicle). Direct current based fast and ultrafast charging systems are under development. These solutions will allow charging of electric cars within the shortest possible time - similar to a conventional ‘fuel stop’.
Powerful grids: Increasing the number of electric vehicles will increase the load on electric grids. Future “Smart Grids” will need to embed intelligent charging management in order to enable country-wide electric mobility that does not destabilize the grid.
Charging the future
The company Absaar, from Altforweiler in Germany, manufactures battery recharging devices for the entire motor vehicle sector, true to its motto of “the reloading company”. Absaar can be proud of the fact that they have been developing this field for the past 40 years and are amongst the few companies that in this day and age still produce "Quality made in Germany".
Over the last 4 decades, they have manufactured hundreds of different models covering all the different requirements of the consumer and professional user, regardless of whether it was for the motorcycle, automobile, bus, truck, boat or any other sector. Absaar can provide the right model for each application.
For Absaar, "Quality made in Germany" isn’t just a slogan. Absaar offers the qualitative opposite of the cheap products of lower quality that flood the market nowadays. Components as well as the actual chargers are all manufactured in Altforweiler from high-quality raw materials. Absaar produces almost 100% of the components used in the charger itself, whether it be the rubber feet, the plastic housing or even the transformers. Even the tiny needles on the ampere meter are produced in-house.
Absaar didn’t only make a simple standard charger for the ”Rinspeed UC?” the internal development department was also responsible for the development of a highly-innovative Lithium-Ion charger. This charger reduces charging time significantly whilst still meeting all relevant safety standards for this battery type. At the same time, Absaar let it be known that it would foster this development to reduce even further the charging time on this type of battery. The optimization and perfection of charging time is one of the most important goals for future progress, and thanks to their high energy absorption capacity, Lithium-Ion batteries offer far more possibilities than traditional lead-acid batteries. This innovation, the constant strides forward made in further development plus investment in its own development department, are the reasons why Absaar is still ranked as a market leader after forty years in battery charging technology.
A get together for concerning automotive future - At Rinspeed and AEZ interests go hand in hand
AEZ and Rinspeed - at this year’s Geneva Motor Show their relationship finally develops into a story of success. This is as the Austria producer of light-alloy wheels and the Swiss car manufacturer are cooperating with each other for the fourth year in a row. This time AEZ has contributed the eye-catching 17-inch “forged motorsport blank” wheels to the UC? mobility concept. They impress with their cool graphite-colored coating and front-polishing, 32 graceful spokes and above all with their exceedingly low weight of six kilograms per alloy.
Both companies share a pronounced interest in innovation. This cooperation provides positive synergy effects. A modern electric vehicle like the “UC?” in particular profits from the tireless work of the AEZ technicians in weight optimization. This pursuit for perfection is, of course, also reflected in the product range: for example AEZ offers the models Nemesis, Forge A and Xylo with the newly developed Lite tec weight reduction technology. The outstanding quality of all alloys is guaranteed by the in-house production in Germany.
Environmentally-friendliness is the catchphrase of the moment in the automobile industry. Studies by Rinspeed show however, that sustainable car construction is not just an empty phrase taken out of marketing manuals. This was also underlined by the previous models eXasis, sQuba and the iChange, which each demonstrated an economically sensible move. AEZ is proud that it has been able to make an important contribution towards the realization of each of these visions with its “Made in Germany” quality light-alloy wheels. Many more cooperative projects with innovative ideas may follow.
AkzoNobel showcases StickerFix repair system at Geneva Motor Show
AkzoNobel Car Refinishes has teamed up with specialty concept car producer Rinspeed to integrate its innovative StickerFix repair system into the Swiss firm’s UC? car, which is due to be shown for the first time at the 80th Geneva Motor Show in March.
StickerFix is a modern, high quality adhesive DIY repair system which uses patented AkzoNobel paint technology in combination with a specially developed vinyl sticker. The system makes it possible for owners to quickly and easily repair minor nicks and scratches by simply applying the ultra-thin adhesive foil over damaged sections of their vehicle.
The UC? - which signifies both “Urban Commuter” and “You See?” - is a lightweight two-seater electric urban commuter car with a top speed of 110 kilometers per hour and an operating range of 120 kilometers. It has been painted with AkzoNobel’s fully compliant premium line of Sikkens products. Both companies will be sharing display space at the Geneva event.
Explained Phil Coady, AkzoNobel Car Refinishes’ Director of Marketing Europe, Middle East and Africa: “StickerFix is a truly unique concept for the vehicle repair market around the world. What distinguishes StickerFix is the combination of modern innovative technology with outstanding performance and simple DIY application properties. It gives vehicle owners a completely new way to keep their vehicles looking their best, with custom color-matched stickers that are practically invisible. The marketing campaign slogan concisely expresses the product concept: Easier than easy.”
StickerFix - which can be applied to damaged areas or used for protective purposes - has been extensively tested and meets demanding standards for adhesion, car wash and steam cleaning resistance, as well as resistance to salt spray, stone chips, gasoline and weathering. It has proven superior to touch-up pens in real-life tests, has excellent shelf-life and can be easily removed from a vehicle by applying heat with a normal hairdryer. The product is also highly sustainable, unlike touch-up pens, as no volatile organic solvents are released during the application.
AkzoNobel is proud to be one of the world’s leading industrial companies. Based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, we make and supply a wide range of paints, coatings and specialty chemicals - 2008 revenue totaled €15.4 billion. In fact, we are the largest global paints and coatings company. As a major producer of specialty chemicals we supply industries worldwide with quality ingredients for life’s essentials. We think about the future, but act in the present. We’re passionate about introducing new ideas and developing sustainable answers for our customers. That’s why our 60,000 employees - who are based in more than 80 countries - are committed to excellence and delivering Tomorrow’s Answers Today.
AkzoNobel Car Refinishes is one of the world’s leading suppliers of paints and services for the car repair, commercial vehicles and automotive plastics markets. It sells coatings for car body refinishing, or recoating, to customers including body shops, distributors, fleet owners, automotive suppliers and major bus and truck producers. Brands include Sikkens, Lesonal, Dynacoat, Wanda, and Sikkens Autocoat BT. Operating in more than 60 countries, Car Refinishes has specialists around the world who understand local markets and can serve local needs. Its state-of-the-art customer services, color and technology solutions include offering technical and logistical support and the delivery of training programs.
The three-day electric car - A.T. Kearney has been developing a flexible production concept for the Rinspeed "UC?"
Leading management consultancy A.T. Kearney has developed a production concept for the "Rinspeed UC ?" concept vehicle which was demonstrated today at the 80th International Motor Show in Geneva. With this concept, the core manufacturing time is reduced to a mere three hours and delivery can be made just three days after an order has been placed. The innovative "UC?" commuter vehicle is the centerpiece of a mobility concept developed by Rinspeed together with 21 partner firms. The vehicle itself is an electric car developed on the basis of the Fiat 500. When creating the manufacturing concept, the A.T. Kearney experts focused on strict modularity in the vehicle construction and on an innovative production configurator.
As A.T. Kearney Global Automotive Partner Niko Soellner points out: "When we were developing the production concept for the "Rinspeed UC?", we concentrated on customers’ requirements and took as our motto "individual and fast". We regard the production as a rapid connection between the customer’s needs on the one hand and the economic success of the manufacturer on the other."
Modular design and simple vehicle configuration: The modular design of the vehicle means that manufacturing complexity is avoided right from the outset. A.T. Kearney Automotive Principal Steffen Gänzle explains: "Through the use of modules, maximum configuration combinations are achieved with a minimum number of components. As a result, the production processes are manageable and transparent for both manufacturer and customer."
An innovative product configurator is used to determine the feasibility of the customer’s construction and production wishes. The customer selects configuration modules on the basis of a large number of combinations, which are realized with a range of production modules. Only in this way can the continuity and consistency of the module concept be assured.
Carl F. Bucherer manufacture movement featured in UC?
The concept cars of Frank M. Rinderknecht are the work of an individual who goes his own way, undeterred - much like Carl F. Bucherer, the founder of the Lucerne-based watch making company of the same name. For company CEO Thomas Morf, this was a reason for supporting his latest project: “Once again, the “UC?” stands for change, forward-looking technology and passion on a grand scale. It’s this wealth of new, innovative ideas and concepts that makes Rinspeed so fascinating”. Perhaps even more important, though, is the philosophy shared by Carl F. Bucherer and Rinspeed: that of taking sophisticated technology, first-class materials and unconventional design, and distilling them into conceptually compelling products that exude innovation and progress.
The fact Rinspeed and Carl F. Bucherer share a common philosophy and work actively together is evidenced by the UC?’s interior. The dashboard is transparent and integrates a painstakingly skeletonized Carl F. Bucherer-manufactured movement. To show off the components in this mechanical gem to their best advantage, the movement is housed in a Plexiglas case without a dial. The time - in hours and minutes - is indicated by the hands characteristic of the Patravi collection. At the same time, the movement embodies the credo that underlies the UC?: first-class Swiss quality and innovation coupled with an unending quest for perfection.
Carl F. Bucherer is an independent, worldwide distributed watch brand that stands for high-level technological innovation and a contemporary aesthetic. Carl F. Bucherer has strengthened its market position as a premium-segment watch manufacturer by establishing Carl F. Bucherer Technologies SA in Sainte-Croix, a workshop specializing in research, development and the manufacture of in-house movements, and by launching its own CFB A1000 movement. This features the first reliable peripheral rotor, thus combining the aesthetic appeal of a hand-wound movement with the convenience of automatic winding.
For eco-friendly mobility: the "Urban Commuter" concept - Rinspeed picks up the pace together with Coop
Coop is supporting the Swiss concept powerhouse Rinspeed in its latest project: the ecofriendly "Urban Commuter" concept embodies modern living combined with active environmental protection. It combines an emission-free electric car for urban transport with a public transport system for longer distances. The world premiere of this mobility concept of the future will be at the 80th Geneva Motor Show (4 - 14 March 2010). Afterwards, the Urban Commuter will be going on tour, where people can discover it at various Coop shopping centers.
Personal mobility is a firm part of our everyday lives. Many customers go shopping in their cars. That’s why Coop considers shopping traffic and transport to be highly important. Coop is committed to ensuring that consumption leaves a smaller footprint. It goes without saying that transport is a key issue here. With the "Urban Commuter" concept, Rinspeed is taking a bold and creative approach. The idea of an electric car that can run short distances independently and docks onto a train for long distances is highly convincing. Although it will take some time for this idea to become a reality, Rinspeed and Coop are aiming to initiate a discussion and to encourage people to think about things in a new way. After all, where would we be now if we had failed to take all of history’s great inventors seriously...?
A relaxed journey from Basel to Geneva: The "Urban Commuter" is based on an innovative concept. The idea is to load the electric car onto Swiss trains for longer distances. Thanks to rail transport, both the environment and drivers’ nerves will be spared. This means that, in future, you will be able to travel comfortably to another part of the country and still be mobile when you arrive.
Powerful innovation driver: Over 20 years ago, when many people still found the idea of organic products a joke, Coop believed in this new development and achieved huge success with its organic brand Naturaplan. Coop helped organic products to achieve a major breakthrough. The Coop Sustainability Fund aims to support innovative, new ideas, such as producing wind power in Valais. Coop is now proceeding to tackle CO2 emissions and turn words into actions. Coop’s Executive Committee decided two years ago that the company will be CO2 neutral by 2023. This ambitious goal has top priority and needs new ideas, also in the area of transport. That’s why Coop is supporting Rinspeed and thus continuing to stimulate innovation and sustainability.