Rinspeed Snap Concept Gives a New Twist to the Old Body-on-Frame System

One of the best bits about electric vehicles is that their powertrain isn't very bulky. Sure, the battery pack is still rather large and heavy, but it comes with the welcome possibility of having it integrated into the floor.
Rinspeed Snap Concept 1 photo
Of course, that's going to make the bottom of the vehicle much thicker than it usually needs to be, but it has some significant advantages as well: it lowers the center of gravity, making the car more stable, and it gives it great structural solidity.

Are we forgetting something? Ah, yes, the motors. Well, those can very easily be stuck either between the wheels (on the axle) or inside the wheels themselves. Compare that to the intricacies of an internal combustion engine with its fuel tank and elaborate exhaust system, and it'll seem like child play.

This simplicity can best be seen on Rinspeed's latest concept, which essentially looks like a platform with wheels. Called "Snap," it is actually a lot more than that - one might even say it could be anything it wants.

Indeed, the Swiss company who makes a habit out of coming up with weird things has now combined the advantages of Level 5 autonomous driving and electric propulsion into a modular vehicle that uses detachable pods and battery-powered skateboards. Alright, let's try to make some sense out of all this.

The idea here is to separate the moving part of the vehicle (that would be the skateboard) from the stationary one (called the pod). This doesn't just enable the Snap to switch from being a people-mover to a delivery freight in just a few minutes, but it also means that you don't have to own the "skateboard," and use any random one you can find on the street.

Rinspeed says that the pod could "also offer stationary use," meaning it could act as a mobile office or something. For instance, you wouldn't have to go up and see your boss if you didn't feel like it and opt to work from the parking lot instead. You might be baked to death on a hot day, however, since the skateboard would have left you without any power source and thus no air conditioning.

The company says this system is also useful to prevent obsolescence. If technology moves forward, you won't have to scrap an entire vehicle, but just do away with the skateboard. It would be fully recyclable, of course, and since you wouldn't actually own it, the replacement could be done seamlessly.

Since it can go on forever, Rinspeed imagines the pod becoming an integral part of the owner's life. What the Swiss fail to realize is that people don't want to hang on to their vehicles for eternity. They want a new one every four years or so. On the other hand, if they bought the Snap in the first place, then they clearly don't care at all about design, so there might be some truth to that.


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