Design concept of the day: Rinspeed microMAX

December 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

rinspeedmicromaxRinspeed’s concept for next spring’s Geneva Auto Salon taps into the ride-share theme: microMAX is designed specifically for sociable short-distance urban transport. Its boxy cabin – it’s the length of a (BMW) Mini but 2.2m tall – houses three upright passenger seats for adults, space for luggage or a child’s pushchair, plus a coffee-maker, fridge and “unlimited connectivity for entertainment purposes or for working while on the move.” It’s all-electric, and Rinspeed boss Frank M. Rinderkneckt suggests that different interior modules could be fitted to suit its usage by craftsmen and delivery firms. However, microMAX has been developed with web- or smartphone-based lift-sharing in mind – “it’s the car to go with the app”, says Rinderkneckt.

Other news to round off the week: data from the UK’s 2011 National Travel Survey (7,700 households, 18,000 individuals) has been released. Rundown of key car-related figures:

  • Since 1995/7, overall number of trips taken is down 12% (to an average of 958 a year); trips using private modes of transport down 13% (the biggest decline is in walking), public transport up 3%. Average distance travelled per year fell 2% to 6826 miles but average trip length rose 11% to 7.1 miles.  “Since the late 1990s, the average distance travelled and average trip lengths have generally levelled off.” Car travel now accounts for 64% of all trips and 79% of distance travelled.
  • Car trips (as a driver or passenger) fell 7% (12% for vans) from 2005/7; average car/van miles driven per person per year fell 5% but average trip length/time remained constant at 8.5 miles/21 minutes.
  • 79% of men and 65% of women now have a driving licence. Men are now taking 18% fewer trips and their mileage is down 16%, but women are taking 11% more car-trips and doing 23% more miles; male drivers are still doing roughly double the annual mileage of women, however. 25% of households do not have access to a car; 43% have one car and 32% have two or more cars.
  • For reference: biggest rises in public transport were in London – bus and surface rail trips up 40% and 47% respectively though local bus travel outside London fell 15%.
  • 20% of all trips were for shopping, 15% for commuting to work; leisure travel (16% of journeys) increased 10% but trips for shopping and visiting friends/family fell 19%/22% respectively. There’s “a switch from more frequent, short shopping trips on foot, to longer, less frequent car trips” and an impact from online shopping. Business trips and distance are both down around 25%.

Some interesting stuff coming out of a more detailed look at the Le Vine/Jones RAC Foundation report, too – trends start to look a bit different once you look at private-only mileage/car use, and what’s happening outside London – growth in many areas and demographic groups.  Still, as Prof. Goodwin pointed out, car use is car use, whether it’s a company car or not…


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