This electric car rides the train

Rinspeed will bring its UC electric city car to the 2010 Geneva auto show.

Rinspeed UC
From the exterior, the Rinspeed UC concept doesn't look as radical as the company's previous cars. Rinspeed

Custom carmaker Rinspeed has a history of bringing designing outlandish concept cars for the Geneva auto show. Past efforts include the transparent eXasis , the submersible sQuba , and the mutable iChange . But this year Rinspeed announced something almost pedestrian, an electric city car.

The UC, which stands for Urban Commuter, is a custom built electric car. From the outside, it looks similar in form to other two seat city cars. Its performance stats aren't particularly impressive either, with a top speed of 75 mph, torque at 96 pound-feet, and a range of only 65 miles.

But the car is only part of a larger transportation scheme. It is designed to be easily loaded on special rail transport cars for long trips. Your typical European could drive the few miles it would take to get to the nearest rail station, sit in the restaurant car while the train crosses a few countries, then drive off the train and go about business. Given the U.S. rail infrastructure, the UC would be a more difficult proposition here.

Inside, the UC shows more radical Rinspeed design, for example eschewing a steering wheel for a joystick controller. Rinspeed, aware of the problems using a joystick to drive a car, designed this one with a special force feedback system. The car delivers feedback to the joystick, such as resistance to sharp turns of the steering wheel that mimics the resistance of the actual tires on the road.

About the author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.

 

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