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Another bonkers concept from Rinspeed. Image by Rinspeed.

Another bonkers concept from Rinspeed
Swiss design firm to unveil its latest 'glass-free transparency' car in Geneva.
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Rinspeed is known for pushing the envelope with innovative concept car unveilings at the annual Geneva motor show. This year the bespoke Swiss carmaker will be taking it up a notch when it reveals the audacious eXasis 'glass-free' show car.

Conceived by Rinspeed CEO and automotive visionary Frank M. Rinderknecht in collaboration with Bayer MaterialScience AG, the eXasis marks Rinspeed's 30th anniversary and 40 years since Bayer first presented an "all-plastic car" at the K67 Plastics Fair in Germany in 1967.

Unlike the zaZen concept unveiled at last year's Geneva show, the eXasis is not based on a production vehicle. Swiss engineering company Esoro was hired to serve as general contractor for the entire vehicle project and enlisted assistance from Schwaller AG for the chassis, engine builder Weber Motor/Swissauto, and design firm Protoscar for the exterior styling. Starting with initial concepts, it took the development team just six months to realise the entire project.

The eXasis's outer shell is made of Makrolon, a polycarbonate plastic material, moulded to create a completely transparent body and floor. The transparent casing reveals the vehicle's load-bearing aluminium chassis, designed to appear to have been created from a solid piece of material. The entire construction is claimed to exude a sense of lightness, underlined by a chrome effect finish.

The car's insect-like, transparent yellow body with exposed wheels looks like a mix of the legendary Auto-Union racing cars from the first half of the last century and an off-road vehicle. The cigar form silhouette is crowned in the rear with an integrated ventilator and a highly polished Remus exhaust muffler.

The body construction also provides an unrestricted view of the two-cylinder, turbocharged and intercooled 150bhp Weber MPE 750 motor, sitting above the transmission at the rear. The engine has been optimised to run on E85 bio-ethanol fuel for increased power and lower CO2 emissions, but it can also run on petrol. The combination of plastic body panels and composite and aluminium components has resulted in a car weighing only 750kg - effectively translating to one horsepower for every 5kg.

To transfer all this power to the road, KW chassis specialists fitted tailor-made spring and shock absorber units vertically in the front partition wall, and horizontally at the rear. Large 22-inch Pirelli P Zero tyres mounted on five-spoke AEZ Lite tec wheels (weighing 20 to 35 percent less than conventional alloy) compete the package.

Inside, the eXasis's two tandem-mounted, brown leather seats (designed in cooperation with Recaro) consist of twelve transparent Makrolon ribs for support. Interior design group Hightex/Sellner was tapped to create the futuristic seat coverings and the fabric-covered steering wheel, encased by knitted metal. Two transparent indicator and function displays reside on either side of the cockpit and control various functions by touch. Each of the panels is made of a transparent CD/DVD Makrolon blank that has been coated with electrically conductive Baytron to trigger the switch functions.

We'll be at the show to share our opinions of the high-tech, transparent concept in the 'metal'.

Eric Gallina - 23 Feb 2007

2007 Rinspeed Exasis concept. Image by Phil Ahern.2007 Rinspeed Exasis concept. Image by Phil Ahern.2007 Rinspeed Exasis concept. Image by Phil Ahern.2007 Rinspeed Exasis concept. Image by Phil Ahern.2007 Rinspeed Exasis concept. Image by Phil Ahern.

2007 Rinspeed Exasis concept. Image by Phil Ahern.2007 Rinspeed Exasis concept. Image by Phil Ahern.2007 Rinspeed Exasis concept. Image by Phil Ahern.2007 Rinspeed Exasis concept. Image by Phil Ahern.2007 Rinspeed Exasis concept. Image by Rinspeed.

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