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Rinspeed To Present an Intelligent Mobility Concept Based on “UC?” Electric Car at Geneva Show in March

The Rinspeed concept integrates a two-seat EV with rail. Click to enlarge.

Swiss-based concept powerhouse Rinspeed, which converts and manufactures prototypes and limited series vehicles, will unveil an intelligent mobility concept that integrates electric commuter cars, rail and the Internet at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show in March.

The concept is centered on an electric two-seater named“UC?”, which stands for “Urban Commuter” or “You see?”. It was designed for possible future series production. UC? measures just 2.50 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. The desired mobile carport with integrated battery charging station is booked via the Internet.

UC?—it’s 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.

—Frank M. Rinderknecht, Rinspeed CEO

The lightweight UC? is operated with a central joystick and delivers 124 N·m of torque. It reaches a top speed of 110 km/h and has an operating range of 120 kilometers. The concept is designed be easily adapted and integrated by volume manufacturers. Rinspeed says that “intensive dialogues at the highest levels” are already well underway.

Rinspeed plans to publish more technical details in February in the run-up to the show. The partners and suppliers involved in the "UC?" project are:


Ole Grampa

Now that's a great idea!!! Drive the thing right on to the railway cars, gain extra range and it has the potential of being very efficient. Plus you can relax during the journey!



Using high speed e-train to transport mini e-cars and passengers for long distances could be ultra efficient.

We would need high speed e-train network.


I think this is a great idea, but realistically it would require an enormous infrastructure investment, which, in the US, we're not prepared to make. I mean, we can't even get high speed rail. What are the chances of us getting high speed rail that integrates with electric cars?



It could be the very same high speed trains. One in every 4 or 5 cars (or portion thereof) would be for passengers, the others would be for mini e-cars loaded sideways and stacked 2 or 3 high.

Passengers are allowed to bring their bicyles on board our suburban e-trains, why not mini e-cars on board long distance e-trains.


Whatever happened to a car for the family of four.

Oh I forgot Greens don't want families with kids.


We can only hope;



Hey, Mannstein, what day is "Bring your family to work day" again?


If putting you car on a train were a good idea, it ( Amtrak’s Auto Train Service) would have caught on with full sized vehicles where the gas savings is much greater.

So we need more than high speed trains.
We would need a culture change.

Roger Pham

This lightweight micro EV may be used on Mark Delucchi's dual transportation network concept. However, it is a bit wasteful to transport this whole thing in a train, since it would take up the seatings of 8-12 passengers. Better yet, develop a concept of instant-renta-microEV network that can be accessed with the swipe of a credit card. Then, you would ride a high-speed train normally, then pick up a micro EV using your credit card at the destination.

Henry Gibson

The bias against cars that will just provide adequate transportation is still present in the producers of this vehicle as shown by their mention of the torque available, and their insistance of not recognizing the engineering fact that liquid fuels will always have more energy than any cheap chemical system and that the now expensive batteries should be limited to about the average distance the average automobile uses in a day so that the car can be cheap enough to compete in price.

A hundred dollars will buy a ten kW range extending generator that will weigh less than 50 Kg with fuel if made by the millions, and they could be the same unit for any make of plug in hybrid of any brand. The average driver will seldom need to use it.

The channel tunnel trains obviously should have had a redundant propulsion system that allowed operation at least at low speeds. A few old smokeless steam factory locomotives are a good example of what could be standing by to move trains through the tunnel at 20 km/h where they could be met by freight diesels. Actually freight diesels can use the tunnels with all the ventilation available and lower CO ones could be built.

Vehicles on trains is a very good and old idea and it could catch on in many more places if promoted heavily and consistently. One of the costs and objections to rail travel is that of how heavy the vehicles already are per passenger, but it is a cost that many pay and many vehicle drivers would pay the extra cost of transporting a vehicle for convenience.

Commuting to work is an expensive convenience for the worker and company that he works for now that telephone and computers allow very cheap communication and many if not most, office workers could work without travel

The individual commuter vehicle on its own automated guide way as proposed by some is a very workable solution for commuters that does require a lot of investment but would be cheapest in the long run. Steel fabrication methods now allow for unobtrusive guide ways.

Quick car rentals are a very good idea, but perhaps it should be for long distance travel with several passengers instead of commuting to work. They will also work well if you do not have to take home the one that you came to work in because they could be dispensed by automatic machinery at large parking automats. A small standard sized commuter vehicle would simplify a lot of things. The same level intersections of steets and roadways are the real problem with traffic flow even on motorways where they are represented by entrances and exits with uncontrolled merging. ..HG..


Roger:  what's the greater efficiency loss, making some extra space on a train (which doesn't need to fit into existing station platforms), or doubling the number of vehicles required?



I don't understand your question.

The Greens that I've met all claim the human population must be reduced to save the planet.

One extremist even suggested that for North America, i.e. Canada, USA, and Mexico the population be reduced to 18 million.

Other Green geniuses claim that denial of climate change is akin to hate speech. But I digress.

Henry Gibson

As an alternative for the not too distant future I present a quote from Richard E Post a developer of inductive magnetic levitation now being proposed and developed for industrial use by General Atomics.

"Another possible application of the Inductrack was conceived by California inventor and entrepreneur Douglas J. Malewicki. His proposed maglev system, known as SkyTran, would transport small, two-passenger cars at up to 160 kilometers per hour. The podlike cars would be suspended from a monorail-type track that would support the levitating circuits. The cars would be available, on call, at each station in the system. After the passengers board a car, it would glide up to the main track and merge with the traffic speeding by the station. As a car approached its destination, it would switch to an exit track, dropping down to the station to allow the passengers to disembark."

Those interested can look at the site below and others.

Magnetic levitation is not needed for such a system to operate nor is an electromagnetic track.

How fast of transportation is needed if any? ..HG..



You are correct on this one. We need a culture change with regards to land transportation.

The days of going to work with a 3+ tonnes ICE monster may be over sooner than we think. We will certainly be reluctant to drive smaller more efficient electrified vehicles because our acquired attitude to Bigger is Better is deeply incorporated into our brain.

It may take a full generation or two or an extended economic recession to implement this change. Progressive increase fuel price up to $10/gal would also help.

Henry Gibson


The cultural change can be brought about quickly with new standards. Exhaust gas cleanup was brought about by a new standard not by customer demand. The 3+ ton monsters are the vehicles that are most improved by hybrid technology according to Wright of Wrightspeed.

The major change needed could be a large import duty on fuels. This will help insure the profitability of localy manufactured alternate fuels.

A minor change could be a required permanently active display of the actual horsepower being delivered to the wheels of a vehicle. Silicon technology now makes such a system cheap. It will show not only the current horsepower being used but also the average moving horsepower. The average horsepower of a Prius seems to be about 8 but can get higher at higher speeds on motorways according to CALCARS. Automobile manufacturers can then be required by law to show how little of the sold promised horsepower is needed or used. ..HG..


Mannstein, you say you "don't understand the question" (which was about your non-sequitur that having small cars dedicated to dual-mode commuting is "anti-family"), and then go off on another non-sequitur.

You're just a troll, and you know it.

Roger Pham

Eng-Poet: "what's the greater efficiency loss, making some extra space on a train (which doesn't need to fit into existing station platforms), or doubling the number of vehicles required?"

I don't understand your question, either.
For intra-city commute, it would be more efficient just to drive the micro-EV, since it's so small and light. Putting this micro-EV inside a train means that the entire weight of the train car must also be moved in order to accomodate the micro-EV which then the person inside the micro-EV.

For long-distance city-to-city travel, even more energy would be required by the train. Therefore, the more passengers the train can carry, the less energy would be required to move a single person. Putting one micro-EV inside the train to displace the seating space of 8-12 passengers is definitely not efficient, both from the stand point of energy and cost.


Our city has recently made 6000+ very high price sturdy bikes quickly available to everybody, specially to people commuting by train.

In the not too distance future, some of those bikes could be replaced with 100,000+ mini BEVs.

Keeping track of the special bikes and more so the mini BEVs is a challenge. Over 40% of the public bikes in Paris city disappeared within one year. We experienced less than 5% but it is not zero %. Private rental organization could certainly do better.


Commuter trains aren't used for intra-city commutes; they carry people from bedroom suburbs to the city center and back.

It is going to be MUCH more efficient to put commuter cars on flat cars than to build two sets of commuter cars (though parking the commuter cars in crowded cities is still going to be an issue).  A Smart ForTwo is 5.1 feet wide, so you could park roughly 11 of them crosswise on an 85-foot flatcar.  4 flatcars on the end of a commuter train could accomodate 44 vehicles with at least 44 commuters, without having to extend commuter station platforms (just drive on/drive off ramps).

CSX claims its trains achieve 400-odd ton-miles per gallon of fuel.  If the fully-loaded weight of the car is 1 ton (the ForTwo is about 1600 lb empty), the cars on the train get an effective 400 MPG.  This is more efficient than the same cars travelling singly on the road, and reduces road congestion too.  If the cars are electric and commuter lines are electrified, liquid fuel use is eliminated with much less investment in things like batteries.

The beauty of the piggyback system is that a commuter who is 60 miles from the city but only 10 miles from a rail station could handle a day's commuting using a relatively cheap and simple battery-powered vehicle that is only charged at home.


I would favor the zip car and mini bus idea. Transporting cars does not seem energy efficient, transporting passengers does. Unless you plan on living where you are going, just pick up a zip car or ride one of the many hybrid mini buses that could be available. The less mass moved the better.

Roger Pham

Thanks, Eng-Poet, for the explanation.


I'm going to agree with SJC in that in-city zipcar services connected with a midrange bus service or a long-range train service is the better option BUT there will always be some people who feel they have to actually own the car they drive - this "Intelligent Mobility Concept" is for them.

I think it's better to have six-of-one and half-a-dozen-of-the-other than to have 12-of-what-we-have-now.


Its far more likely on the city level that we will see personal rapid transit systems pop up as even bevs cost alot to own in a city.

Bedroom comunities will likely have small prt systems leading to commuter rail links.


Well yes winter, PRT would be an even better system but saying "its far more likely" is open to debate.

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