This is niche Swiss manufacturer Rinspeed’s latest vision to revolutionise our lives, and our urban transport. Yes, it is the proverbial box on wheels. However, Rinspeed is adamant the ‘Micromax’ is, in its own words, ‘the perfect thing for swift short-distance transfers’.
A boxy little city car? The Rinspeed Micromax doesn’t sound too revolutionary…
What Rinspeed has focused on with the Micromax is maximum space efficiency inside the car, thanks to its lofty stance and wheel-at-each-corner footprint. The Micromax measures 3.6m long, slightly shorter than a Mini Cooper. Where is really differs is in its height: the Micromax is a lofty 2.2m tall. By comparison, a Mini stands at 1.4m: even a Seat Alhambra MPV is lower, at 1.7m!
This allows the fitment of upright seats that hold passengers in an almost standing position, with just a small perch and backrest to lean on. Instead of cramming the cabin full of these seats to make a tiny minibus, the Micromax only seats four people, including the driver. Instead, the extra floor space can be used, says Rinspeed, to store a baby’s pram or carry cot, or shopping cart. The roomy interior is also supposed to ‘afford an outstanding sense of spaciousness, with homey lounge character.’
So it’s a lounge on wheels then?
This is where the Micromax really deviates from the city car norm. To enhance the Micromax’s homely appeal, Rinspeed has equipped it with ‘a coffee maker, a refrigerator for the passengers’ happy-hour drinks, and unlimited connectivity for entertainment purposes or for working while on the move.’ We’re used to seeing car makers squabbling over new niche ideas, but a cafe/office/bar/minibus combo is new to these eyes.
Underneath the novel body lives an all-electric battery powertrain. Rinspeed says the Micromax could be made available in multiple configurations, such as delivery wagon, craftsman’s van or a taxicab, and set to work in local city duties where EVs are at their happiest.
We’ll find out more about the Rinspeed Micromax when a concept version is shown off at the 2013 Geneva motor show, from 7 March next year.