Design Concept of the Day: Rinspeed Budii

February 16, 2015 § Leave a comment

Budii_Int_02More pictures of the Rinspeed Budii prior to the Geneva Auto Salon: on the surface, it’s a fun and eye-catching tricked-out BMW i3 (with a shower, an auto-winding – Swiss – watch, a very fancy Harmon Kardon audio system, touchscreen HMI and fibreoptic ambient lighting), but there’s also some clever thinking on autonomous driving and its implications. Drive-by-wire steering allows for either front-seat occupant to take the wheel; 3D laser-scanning enables autonomy but also terrain mapping and auto-adjustment of ride height; radar and V2X tech enables connectivity including the payment for services (parking, recharging); and two stowaway mini-two-wheelers (electric) take care of last-mile onward travel. Rinspeed – a Swiss consultancy/creative thinktank – has identified the need to make EVs “sexy and emotionally charged” (pun intended? Either way, sad but true) and as such, it’s a no-expenses-spared job on the interior finish and creature comforts (including smartphone- and watch-controlled auxilliary heating). More details here, full gallery of images here.

  • Changes to the Plug-in Car Grant scheme: to be increased from the current 25% of purchase price to 35%, as of April 1st – but capped at £5000, so it’s only going to benefit buyers of EVs under the £20,000 mark. Plug-in cars are also going to be divided into three eligible categories: 1, with CO2 under 50g/km and an all-electric range of at least 70 miles; 2, under 50g/km, and with a range of 10-69 miles; and 3, 50-75g/km and an all-EV range of at least 20 miles. The grants will run up until 50,000 have been awarded (it’s at about 25,000 right now). Though the grant allowance remains the same across the categories at the moment, it’s likely that a sliding scale will follow – perhaps in relation to the upcoming changes to BIK company car tax bandings, to be announced in the Budget.
  • BMW is working with Spanish utility firm Iberdrola to provide a 350-car shared fleet of i3 EVs. Iberdrola will deploy these in Madrid, Bilbao, Barcelona and Valencia. More here.
  • I rarely agree with this particular (highly EV-sceptical) Detroit News columnist, but in this case, I’m with NW in that structural changes to mobility/car ownership/driving are going to be incremental rather than revolutionary overnight, and that some phenomena, such as peer-to-peer sharing, will probably remain marginal. Comment from several other industry-watchers on a similar note.
  • Apple is gearing up to challenge Google with its ‘Project Titan’, reports the  WSJ, with minivan-based electrically-driven prototypes spotted out and about to trial autonomous-driving tech. More here.
  • Volvo is expanding its V2X cloud-comms ice-warning project to a 1000-car fleet operating in Gothenburg and Oslo. More here.
  • Stopping at traffic lights is bad for you: on a journey where 2% of the time is spent stationary at red lights, 25% of exposure to particulates is experienced while waiting for green, according to research at the University of Surrey. And that’s just for the drivers… Deceleration, idling then revving up to go again ups PM emissions by 29% over those from free-flowing traffic. More, incl. references, here.

 

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