CES Las Vegas is nearly three months away, but that hasn’t stopped Rinspeed from previewing their new microSNAP concept.
As the name suggests, the concept is a miniature version of the SNAP concept which debuted at last year’s show. It’s so small that Rinspeed says the vehicle has the same dimensions as the Renault Twizy.
Rinspeed was tight-lipped about details, but the model follows in the footsteps of its larger brother and features a skateboard chassis which houses an electric powertrain as well as all the technology that is required for the car’s autonomous driving system. The chassis can be mated an assortment of different bodies called “pods” and the teaser image suggests Rinspeed envisions the concept could be used for everything from transporting people to delivering food.
The skateboard and pod setup has a number of benefits as owners can swap bodies on demand. When the model becomes old, owners could simply recycle the skateboard chassis and replace it with a newer version featuring improved performance and better technology. This could potentially lower costs as the buyers would only need to buy part of the car.
While Rinspeed has been known for making some pretty wild concepts, the company is committed to SNAP. As the firm explained, a “startup is now on the drawing boards and talks with investors are underway to put the SNAP on the road.”
There’s no word on when the model could go into production, but Rinspeed boss Frank Rinderknecht said the days of large delivery vehicles are over. Citing booming online sales and the emergence of fresh food delivery, Rinderknecht believes there is demand for “small autonomous vehicles that swarm out and deliver their goods to customers ‘just in time’ and without detours.”
He certainly does have a point as a number of companies are working on autonomous grocery delivery vehicles and a handful of stores have already started pilot programs.