Rinspeed iChange (2008): first pictures | CAR Magazine

Rinspeed iChange: first pictures

Published: 15 December 2008 Updated: 26 January 2015

After the Rinspeed Squba – the Lotus Elise that went underwater – Frank Rinderknecht’s latest concept car seems almost tame by comparison. Called the iChange it’s a ‘1-2-3-seater’ with moveable bodywork.

‘It’s exciting and sporty and really different from the Squba,’ Rinderknecht told CAR. ‘And different is what we always try to do’.

Eh? What’s a ‘1-2-3-seater’? Just what is the Rinspeed iChange?

Ordinarily the iChange is a sleek sports car for one, with a streamlined teardrop shape. Rinderknecht says the iChange is around 4500mm long, 1850mm wide and a mere 1100mm tall, making it longer but narrow and lower than a Lamborghini LP560-4.

But should you need to carry more passengers the iChange’s rear end rises up, providing space for two and turning into what Rinspeed calls a ‘compact sportsvan’.

Fancy aerodynamics? So is the iChange all about being clean and green?

Oh yes. Every Rinspeed over the past few years has had an eco-friendly powertrain. The iChange is no different, with a 130kW electric motor. Rinderknecht promises the low weight (around 900kg thanks to composite bodywork), combined with the low aerodynamc drag (helped by Volvo DRIVe-esque wheels) should mean a massively reduced power consumption figure. But it should be fast too – performance estimates are currently 0-62mph in four seconds and 155mph.

‘If we want to preserve our individual mobility in the future, we have to re-think our conception of cars – above all we need to accommodate the ecological aspects,’ said Rinderknecht. ‘Thinking about variability and the constantly changing energy demand, we have created an extremely flexible vehicle.’ It’s a concept that Rinspeed hopes will change our perceptions on how cars should be designed. We’ll let you know what we think when the iChange appears at the 2009 Geneva motor show next March.

>> What do you think of the Rinspeed iChange? A clever new way of thinking about car design, or another wacky concept? Click ‘Add your comment’ below and have your say

By Ben Pulman

Ex-CAR editor-at-large