Rinspeed Fiat 500 – 60 or 160 Hp at the Push of a Button

Frank Rinderknecht, the guy behind Rinspeed, must have had some really long, sleepless nights before the 2009 Geneva Auto Show, as he thought up ways to make us marvel. After giving us a look at the Rinspeed iChange and the way it can be controlled with an iPhone, Rinderknecht decided such an occasion is worthy of yet another release.

Enter the Rinspeed Fiat 500 E2. The car looks like your everyday 500, with only minor exterior alterations: small, innocent, "cuddly' as its creator calls it. But it does something... weird.

Based on the Abarth version of the Fiat 500, the E2 features two different power levels. Say you are in a city, and flooring it won't count for much in between stoplights. Then what would you need a gazillion horsepower output for?

Rinderknecht thought to himself: 60 horsies will do just fine in urban traffic. So he came up with the "Commuting" level for the engine, which gives you an amount of power more than sufficient to move along with city traffic while saving energy. When used in this mode, the car uses about four liters of fuel/100 km.

But what if just like in "The Thirteen Floor", the city suddenly ends and you find yourself on an open road? 60 horsepower will do you about as much good as a camp fire under the desert sun. To get out of this predicament, Rinderknecht gave you a button.

The button tampers with the car's electronics and completely changes the way the E2 behaves. Just like Gizmo, only without the water. Push it and your "cuddly" baby will become a 160 horsepower monster. Rinspeed calls it "Highway" mode and when engaged the car uses about 7 liters of fuel every hundred kilometers.

We only have one advice: don't mix up the two engine modes. After all, is not that hard: "Highway" is for highway, "Commuting" for commuting... If you need to practice, Rinspeed will take the E2, together with the iChange, to the 2009 Geneva Motor Show. Check them out, they're worth it.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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