2012 Geneva Motor Show Preview: Rinspeed Dock+Go Mobility Concept

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 8, 2011

The new Rinspeed Dock+Go Concept will be introduced at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show. Swiss company Rinspeed is convinced that this concept will put to rest the issue of range anxiety that has hounded sales of electric city cars. The Smart Fortwo Electric Drive-based concept comes with a detachable trailer axle dubbed as a ‘backpack on wheels’. This could accommodate a combustion engine or range extender and it could also have batteries or a fuel cell.

The rear wheels of the Fortwo are powered by this ‘backpack’. This could raise the otherwise limited range of the electric Fortwo. If a trip is short, the ‘backpack’ can be taken out and what’s left is the car’s standard all-electric range.

This charging range-extending system is referred to by Rinspeed’s creator Frank M Rinderknecht as a ‘vario-hybrid’. This trailer is available in different sizes and styles to fit a variety of purposes. Among those that Rinspeed included are a heated box for pizza delivery drivers and a mobile toolbox for craftsman. It can also be modified to store items like golf clubs or camping equipment.

The Human Machine Interface inside the Rinspeed Dock+Go Concept is a unique feature and with the gesture control, allows digital content to be included inside the vehicle easily, safely, and intuitively. While the gesture-controlled system ensures that operating the contents is easy, the body being integrated with four cameras makes parking even easier.

There is more to the Rinspeed Dock+Go Concept than it appears simply as there is also a high level of sophistication when it comes to technical features. Its door frames for example are lightweight and made of new high-strength material, and have been supplied by the steel manufacturer Voestalpine from Austria. The liftgate insert is lightweight as well and now has function integration. This feature was made for the model by Weber Fibertech. Specialist Eberspächer, based in Germany, meanwhile was the one responsible for the futuristic air vents and the high-voltage electric heater.

As safety will always be a primary concern, the company made sure not to make any compromises and thus its electric plug connectors have been sourced from TE Electronics. These connectors are in fact known as apropos plug connector as they have no need to be actually plugged when the car needs recharging. What happens is that the car will just need to go above an induction field, sourced from SEW Erodrive, and start the non-contact charging.

For the actual instruments on the inside, they were made by none other than VDO. German-Japanese Takata Corporation meanwhile was the one who created the new steering wheel and since it allows for a smartphone to be docked to it, it gives the driver a second monitor.

This docking place was possible since the use of vacuum technology has made sure that the driver airbag will need less installation space. Dominating the interior are different materials in red and black. The interior mainly utilizes what are called as Schoeller yarns. In addition to having a high moisture absorptive capacity, it provides excellent insulation and powerful natural thermoregulation, which means that occupants feel cool during the summer and warm when in winter.

Enhancing the comfort is the fact that Gaenslen & Völter, celebrated textile maker for premium autos, managed to turn them to supple and soft upholstery resulting in the special feel-good factor. If the use of plastic cannot be avoided, the brand made sure that it would be made of man-made and high-grade materials. An example of this is the synthetic leather, made by Hornschuch, which has been stylishly and creatively embossed.

Studer meanwhile was the one responsible not only for some of the other materials in the interior but also for the unique grass inlays and the transparent roof. Helping the driver view the road better is the 12.1-inch monitor which is part of the multi-media equipped and is also part of Harman’s intelligent infotainment system. With this platform, integration of many of the new technologies is made possible, like those for smart phone, cloud-based Aha-platform, adaptive navigation.

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