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The debate on whether or not Electric Vehicles (EV) are viable in South Africa rages on.

'Pop-up' three-seater for Geneva

2009-02-17 11:45

Swiss vehicle manufacturer Rinspeed is renowned for its offbeat concepts and has done it again with the iChange which has a body that adapts to the number of passengers on board.

Considered a symbol of the changes afoot in the car industry and the death throes of gas guzzlers, the keyword for iChange is flexibility, it seems. The car adapts to changing energy demands with its zero emission electric motor and can seat either one or three occupants within its flexible cabin.

With a push of a button, the car's rear end "magically pops up" transforming iChange from a single-seater to a three-seater.

Going with the idea that cars are often encumbered with bulky exteriors even when only one occupant is present, iChange gives its sole driver a car with optimal aerodynamics (and the resultant energy savings) with the option of an expanding rear for two passengers.

iChange has no doors, instead using an electrically powered roof that tilts forward to allow passengers to hop in. Rather than a conventional key, iChange comes with an iPhone that also controls the vehicle functions. The interior is finished in pure wool.

Roof solar panels provide power to the fan that keeps temperatures within the car's passenger pod down on hot days and also helps to charge the batteries.

The electric motor's lithium-ion batteries are stored in two different stack configurations for shorter distances and long-distance driving.

iChange's electric motor produces 150 kW and is able to propel the car from 0 - 100 km/h in just over four seconds before it reaches a top speed of 220 km/h. Drive is via a six-speed double clutch gearbox sourced from Subaru.

The concept three-seater rolls on custom made lightweight 17- and 18-inch light-alloys shroud with Pirelli P Zeros.

iChange celebrates its show debut at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.


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