Frank M. Rinderknecht, the man behind Swiss design house Rinspeed, is no stranger to the Geneva Motor Show. He’s also no stranger to building futuristic, sometimes wacky concepts. This year’s show was no different, as Rinspeed unveiled a car called the iChange that actually adapts its body according to the number of passengers on board.
“The iChange is a signal for the coming global changes to individual mobility,” said Rinderknecht. “We need to be ready to meet these challenges with new ideas.” His solution is a teardrop-shaped 1-seat sports car that has the ability, at the touch of a button, for the rear of the car to instantly expand, increasing space inside the cockpit to allow one or two more passengers to climb aboard.
Rinspeed says the most important factors in designing an energy-efficient car are the car’s weight, the type of engine it uses and its aerodynamic properties. Therefore, Rinspeed chose electricity to power the iChange, making it a zero-emission vehicle. It uses a 204-hp electric motor receiving power from a lithium-ion battery pack — solar panels on the roof help charge the batteries. The car’s 6-speed “pre-selector” gearbox comes from a Subaru WRX. Despite the car’s battery pack, the iChange is extremely light for an electric car — just 2315 lb. Due to this, and its aerodynamic shape, Rinspeed says the iChange concept would be capable of hitting 62 mph (100 km/h) in “slightly over 4 sec.” with a top speed of 137 mph.
You’ll note the iChange doesn’t have doors; instead, the entire roof section raises electrically to allow passengers to enter the cockpit. There also isn’t a key; its replaced by an Apple iPhone, which controls many of the vehicle’s functions. Much of the interior is covered in wool, while the floor is diamond-coated. The Harman Kardon infotainment system is designed to minimize power consumption, while the audio system, despite 12 speakers, was designed to be extremely lightweight.