Rinspeed Fools The Press. Again
Auto blogging sites large and small are going gaga over Rinspeed’s announcement of a backpack. The Swiss tuner promises a rear extension for compact electric cars such as the smart fortwo EV. The extensions are modular. One is a motorized appendage that had been fueling the fantasy of EV enthusiasts for a while: If you want to go beyond the meager range of your EV, simply tow a trailer with a conventional engine. Voila, a docked range extender. Hence the name Dock+Go.
At the upcoming Geneva auto show, the Swiss trailer will be ready for inspection. It also can be used for other purposes, such as a ski transporter, a party pack, or for Pizza delivery. Latest when it comes to pizza delivery, a halfway decent auto writer should realize that not only are trailer being pulled, but also the legs of the press.You can deliver a bunch of pizza boxes on a bicycle, no need for a towed array of expensive technology.
Only Germany’s Autohaus, an industry rag that has seen everything, reminds its auto-dealing readers that “like other Rinspeed creations of the past, the concept suffers from minuscule chances of becoming reality.”
Old Geneva hands know that Rinspeed is known for whacko concepts that will never make it into production, but that always are good for headlines written by gullible editors. Did Rinspeed’s underwater car of 2008 ever go into series? Or the car that senses you mood?
If you've ever pulled a trailer, you'll know it is extremely difficult to back up with a trailer that short.
Bertone, which designed the Lancia Stratos concept and its production realization, the Lamborghini Countach, is bankrupt. Pininfarina, which designed everything from the 1952 Ferrari 250 to the 2011 Ferrari FF, is on the verge of bankruptcy. Rinspeed, which designed this: http://www.rinspeed.com/pages/cars/presto/pre-presto-fotos.htm Is still alive and kicking.
I like the idea. Somebody, probably out in California, designed a range-extender called "The Long Ranger." Total weight was 300lbs and it had some sort of device to make it back up straight with the vehicle and to track differently around curves. It had a 500cc water-cooled Kawasaki engine, 30-40hp, and could keep a Rav4-EV moving around at better than 30mpg (a conventional Rav of that vintage only gets about 30mpg, at best). The very small size of that trailer left it in the vehicle's wake, so there should be minimal drag. If one owned, say, 3 electric vehicles, one might only need one range-extending trailer to share among them. Or one could rent them (U-Haul could branch out and also develop range-extending trailers with varying amounts of load capacity). The one enhancement I would like to see is a way of coupling the range-extender's cooling system into the EV heating system. Don't waste the waste heat! Also, standardized plugs and controls are a must (and the Leaf's socket is clearly on the wrong end of the car).
Or you could just buy an ordinary car with an IC engine and save all the fiddle-f*king around and get on with your life.