Rinspeed microSNAP Specifications:
▪ Length/width/height/wheelbase – 2,626/1,335/1,708/1,686 mm
▪ Kerb weight – 730 kg
▪ Engine – Three-phase asynchronous electric motor
▪ Max output – 18 hp (13 kW)
▪ Max torque – 57 Nm
▪ Battery type / capacity – Lithium-ion / 6.1 kW
▪ Transmission – Single-speed, RWD
▪ Top speed – 75 km/h (est.)
▪ Driving range – 95 km (est.)
With the “Snap,” presented at the CES in Las Vegas in early 2018, Swiss powerhouse of ideas Rinspeed for the first time presented a vehicle, where the chassis (“Skateboards“) and bodies (“Pods”) can be swapped out at any time.
“Think mighty micro!” is now the new Rinspeed motto at the CES 2019. Company head Frank M. Rinderknecht has shrunk the “Snap” into the “microSNAP” with the dimensions of a Renault Twizy. And for the first time, Rinspeed demonstrates a fully automated robot station that joins and separates chassis and bodies autonomously. Experts refer to this step in car production where the chassis and the body come together as the mating of an automobile, except here it is not for good, but only for the time of the intended purpose.
As far as the Swiss automotive visionary is concerned, the days of large delivery vehicles that serve customers in sequence like pearls on a string over the course of the day are over. Because online business is booming and now includes the fresh food sector as well, the Swiss national believes in small autonomous vehicles that swarm out and bring their goods to the customer without detours and ‘just in time.’ It couldn’t be faster or more simple – even refrigerated or heated. However, his vision also includes two-seater ‘robo units‘, which take the shortest route to convey their passengers to their destination efficiently and in comfort. Rinderknecht is certain: “Customers increasingly want prompt deliveries and many passengers are unwilling to use shared taxis, which have to take time-consuming detours by design.”
A startup is now on the drawing boards and talks with investors are underway to put the “Snap” on the road. In fact, the response among automotive experts to the revolutionary “Snap” is tremendous and not without leaving its mark. Even one of the most renowned automakers was inspired by the Swiss and recently presented its own interpretation of the “Snap” systematics. And since imitation is generally considered the sincerest form of flattery, Rinderknecht takes it with a sense of humor and smiles: “Well now, who did invent it?”
Be it the “Snap” or the “microSNAP,” the basic idea is the same: While the bodies last as long as a car does today, the chassis contain all the components that are subject to wear and aging, such as the computer technology for autonomous driving. “Skateboards” (chassis) and “Pods” (bodies) are only temporary companions for brief periods. Various types of bodies use whatever skateboards are currently available. The skateboards are recycled after a few years, because they will have reached the end of their service life. They thus elegantly avoid an expensive and complicated hardware update.
Rinspeed MicroSnap | CES 2019 Autonomous Concept Car