Design Concept of the Day: Rinspeed Budii

December 8, 2014 § Leave a comment

rinspeed budiiOne for next spring’s Geneva Motor Show: the Rinspeed Budii is an autonomously-driven “friend on wheels” (hence its name) said to demonstrate how we need to “redefine the relationship between man and machine” (and, presumably, woman and machine, I hope). One from the imagination of Swiss designer/coachbuilder Frank M. Rinderkneckt, it has ‘learning’ technologies to adapt to its owner’s habits and preferences – gathering data from other vehicles and the surrounding environment/infrastructure as it proceeds – and to become “the perfect chauffeur”. It’s not entirely autonomous, however: while the autopilot handles daily commuting and the city grind, there’s still scope for DIY driving out of town – and either driver or front passenger can take the robot arm-mounted wheel to steer. “The transition from traditional to autonomous driving will take place in stages”, says Rinderkneckt. “Consequently, man and machine will still have a few years left to get used to this new form of mobility and the different interplay between people and technology it will entail, time they both will need.”

  • Volvo’s new XC90 T8 – a large SUV PHEV – delivers a total 400hp and 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds but emits just 59g/km; this big seven-seater also offers five selectable driving modes (hybrid, all-electric, Power, AWD and ‘Save’, the latter saving charge for later use, i.e. if heading for a low-emissions zone). It combines a 60kW/82hp, 240Nm rear-mounted e-motor with Volvo’s 2.4-litre, four-cylinder supercharged and turbocharged Drive-E petrol unit (318hp, 400Nm) plus eight-speed auto gearbox, a crankshaft-mounted starter-generator and regenerative braking, and gives an all-electric range of up to 25 miles. Volvo has packaged the battery pack centrally in the transmission tunnel, giving a low centre of gravity and no impact on interior space. Further touches include the ability to pre-heat/chill the cabin and prime the drivetrain and battery via the Volvo On Call mobile app. Some more detail here.
  • Siemens has demonstrated home-use EV/PHEV charging equipment with remote cloud monitoring/reporting, smart-grid compatibility and LAN control; EV owners using this are also able to check charging costs and energy consumption, and remotely schedule and monitor charging via computer, tablet or smartphone. More here.
  • London private-hire firm Thriev is to expand its fleet of all-electric BYD e6s to 200 by April 2015.
  • The Mayor of Paris has announced plans to ban diesel cars from the city centre by 2020 – and London could follow suit, reports The Telegraph. Good move, but might be one to believe when it happens… the lobbying by car-makers has already started.
  • And that meme about Millennials not driving… some figures have been dug up by Citylab to suggest that Gen Y’s driving to work as much as – in fact slightly more than – their equivalents in the 1980s in the 25 most-populated metro areas of the USA. Their commuting rates dipped a bit in 1990 and 2000, but 84.5% of the demographic is still travelling to work by car either as a driver or passenger. Yes, 84.5%… Falls in car use among the age group were noted in NY, Boston, SF, Portland, Washington DC, Seattle, LA, Charlotte and Miami (yes, most of the cities you’d expect to see in that list) but these have been offset by rises elsewhere.
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