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microSNAP E21l

Kiwi designer does it again

Kiwi designer Alain Brideson has once again pulled together a car for the future in his work with the Swiss 'mobility solutions' team at Rinspeed.

Rinspeed alain brideson 1

Auckland industrial designer Alain Brideson is an integral member of the Rinspeed team. The latest Rinspeed concept car has been designed for a world that wants everything delivered faster and fresher.

Alain describes the 2019 Rinspeed ‘microSNAP’ as a 2.60 metre-long chassis ‘skateboard’ with interchangeable pods.

“The idea is that the autonomous electric skateboards can drive around a city using different pods at different times to meet all types of transport needs over a day. Two different types of pods have been created for the concept. One has seats for two passengers, the other can carry goods.” The delivery pods can keep the interior hot, cold, or anywhere in between. The passenger pod is climate-controlled, with dimmable windows. A dashboard screen manages everything from iris scanners to controls for a separate Harman sound system for each passenger. The pods are lifted on and off by a robotic system designed and manufactured by Kuka, in Germany.

Kiwi influence

Alain has designed seven of the last eight Rinspeed vehicles. All are full working models and are displayed at the world’s biggest car events. In 2017 Alain, Frank M. Rinderknecht and the 2015 Rinspeed took centre stage at the MTA centenary car show.

Building a Rinspeed

At the beginning of each project, Alain Brideson makes a trip to Switzerland to meet up with Rinspeed head Frank M. Rinderknecht and his project manager, engineer Peter Kaegi.

“Frank comes up with the concept, which is his idea of where things are going over the next couple of years. I get his brief for the idea and all the spatial requirements of the various pieces of technology that companies want to feature.” Alain then starts work on the design, bringing the idea to life in a functional and aesthetically pleasing manner. Peter Kaegi keeps a close eye on things to make sure the engineering and technical needs stack up. “This year’s car is a further evolution of the 2018 ‘Snap’. The ‘Snap’ was also a skateboard with removable pods, but much bigger. The pods lifted themselves up off the skateboard using electric rams.”

microSNAP E5b

Public demand

Frank says the 2019 ‘microSNAP’ responds to the boom in online business, including from the fresh food sector. “Customers increasingly want prompt deliveries and many passengers are not willing to use shared taxis, which take time consuming detours.”

He says the idea has been a hit and a startup company is talking to investors about the possibility of putting ‘microSNAP’ into small scale production.

For Alain, the satisfaction has come from creating a fun yet nicely balanced design, with all the elements looking right; separately and when the pod is snapped onto the chassis.

“The biggest challenge for the ‘microSNAP’ was to fit everything into such a small package. I had to simplify to the design to make the best use of what space there was. For example, the dashboard holds only the multi-media panel.”

He’s particularly pleased with the lights that were designed by Osram specifically for the vehicle. These include a digital license plate and a micro-pixel LEDs which provide dazzle-free high beams.