Zürich, Switzerland – Swiss auto company Rinspeed has announced it will unveil the electric iChange concept at the Geneva Motor Show in March. The company said it is the world’s first car whose body adapts to the number of passengers on board.
“The iChange is a symbol for the fundamental changes the auto industry undergoes worldwide,” said president Frank Rinderknecht. “And it is clear that only those companies will survive that have innovative answers for the demands of the new automotive era. The iChange is a signal for the coming global changes to individual mobility. We need to be ready to meet these challenges with new ideas.”
The iChange is powered by lithium-ion batteries, available in two different stack configurations for short- or long-distance driving. The car’s electric motor produces 150 kW, capable of a top speed of 220 km/h, with zero to 100 km/h taking slightly over four seconds. The car uses a six-speed, pre-selector gearbox from the Subaru WRX, while the integration technology for the engine, generator, electronics and battery are supplied by Siemens AG.
Within seconds, the iChange transforms from a single seater into a car with room for three, with the teardrop-shaped rear popping up at the touch of a button. The configuration accounts for the sizeable effect aerodynamics play in fuel consumption. While other cars have to carry large bodies at all times even if only the driver is present, the iChange reconfigures for optimal aerodynamic properties and minimal energy consumption. If more than one person needs to be transported, the increased weight and more inefficient aerodynamics increase energy consumption, but only during the time the passengers are on board.
The iChange has no doors, with passengers entering and exiting through an electrically-powered roof section of the car. It also has no key, but instead uses an Apple iPhone, which controls important vehicle functions, while solar panels on the top and side of the roof provide electricity to the climate control fan and help charge the vehicle’s batteries.