Rinspeed’s ‘snap’: the sum of its parts is greater than the whole


swiss ‘powerhouse of ideas,’ rinspeed, will present a skateboard and a pod at the consumer electronics show (CES 2018) in las vegas. the skateboard is actually a chassis and the pod is actually, well, actually it’s just a pod, but they snap together to create something much greater: the concept car/mobility ecosystem, ‘snap.’ rinspeed’s snap seems to solve many issues, but one issue in particular: lifecycles.

snap by rinspeed features three displays per passenger
all images courtesy of rinspeed

‘the lifespan of IT and automotive are extremely different.’ four short IT years clash with eighteen long, mileage-defined automotive years. how can one harmonize them?’ asks the narrator of rinspeed’s video (above).

the voice over is right. cutting edge technology looks just sad after two years, but vehicles last much longer. rinspeed claims to have solved the issue; snap’s chassis skateboard and safety cell pod separate from each other after the hardware and software gets old. the giant board is no good on its own, but it should be noted that the pod could potentially be useful stationary—as a camping pod, or a ‘cozy cuddle pod.’ the skateboard carries long-lasting mechanical and fast-aging IT components. these components are recycled after a few years, while the (hopefully) less-stressed ‘cuddle’ pod remains in service long-after, until finally, it too, is recycled.

the concept updates the idea of transportation all-together

everything snaps together nicely as the name implies. the twenty-fourth concept car from rinspeed was designed at swiss company 4erc and technically executed at esoro. the electric vehicle’s has received contribution from a reputable network of global companies. a partial collection of the ideas and specs follows.

the pod sits comfortable on the left and the skateboard chassis is detached on the right

the two steering axles and the electric powertrain come from ZF. they claim to turn the snap on a dime, while producing no emissions in urban traffic. weight-optimized 7×18 borbet alloy wheels minimize fuel consumption. every adhesive bond in and on the snap are realized with innovative adhesives from sika automotive. a personal assistant (interestingly optional) presents itself in the form of an autonomous robot. gentex contributes an iris scanner for occupant detection and dimmable glass elements. lidar sensors from ibeo in hamburg detect obstacles on the road via real-time-measurement of light reflections. there’s also a smart antenna, HD maps for autonomous driving, a digital cloud platform, face recognition, biometric identification, ultraviolet interior LEDs that render bacteria harmless, a quick-charging cable, a marketplace network (MHP), urban farming containers for mint and strawberry tea, and of course, wifi.

many advertising opportunities are available for the shell of the pod

the concept certainly has a lot of… concepts. but the transmission of data and information has been tested/certified, and rarely has a concept car offered so many interesting solutions to such specific problems, the most specific of which, again: lifecycles. it will be interesting to hear how many spectators snap along with rinspeed at the CES in LV.

the parts snap together easily

the city runabout is brimming with sensors

there is three-level user authentication, depending on desired preferences

personal cloud content is available after authorization is complete