Rinspeed makes a drivable airport tram
The Swiss design company shows car sharing in a very awkward future.
If that's you, Rinspeed has your ride: the 2013 microMAX.
Instead of rails, this electric tram has four wheels. Instead of voice announcements calling for "Terminal Charlie," there's a driver's seat and a steering wheel flush against the vertical windshield. It's far plusher inside, too, with a coffee maker, Internet, gobs of legroom and a fridge for "happy-hour drinks" -- but only if you're not driving.
When the microMAX appears out of nowhere, thanks to a car-sharing smartphone application that somehow includes a waiting driver, you can sit with other fellow passengers, who might even bring a shopping cart inside, just because, Rinspeed says. This is the future.
Sit? Stand? Drive? With the microMAX's subway doors and "homey lounge character," you won't be able to decide. No matter where you're headed, you'll always feel as if you're inside an airport. Isn't that what everyone wants?
Needless to say, the microMAX isn't one of Rinspeed's best ideas. While it started out installing sunroofs in the 1970s and modifying Porsches, Rinspeed has become a concept designer's playground. The Swiss design company always makes a splash at the Geneva Motor Show -- sometimes literally, with its submersible Lotus Elise in 2008. In the past four years, Rinspeed has also demonstrated iPhone-controlled racers, an electric car-sharing service paired with high-speed trains and a 6-wheeled Smart car with a detachable electric pizza oven. They're imaginative and never boring.
Maybe Rinspeed is on to something. Next time we're stuck in the Dallas airport, we'll get drunk and circle the terminals without holding onto anything. With the microMAX, that's where the fun starts and stops.
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