While the company is mostly known for tuning Subarus and Porches, it hasn't stopped them from creating wacky concept cars, one of which was a working submarine inspired by James Bond's amphibious Lotus from "The Spy Who Loved Me." This year Rinspeed brought the BamBoo, a vehicle that immediately recalls the Mini Mook, a fabric-topped Jeep-like vehicle based on the original Mini platform.
How un-carlike is this car? Even the car's press release says it "resembles a grown-up golf cart at first glance." By the second glance, the viewer would probably notice one of the car's many ridiculous features:
The inflatable roof can be removed for use as a giant beach towel.
The grill has been replaced by the "identiface." This screen shows the driver's Facebook page, offers for car pooling, and world news that presumably could be read from the rear view mirror of the next car.
The "BamBoo-Community" interface on the inside of the car does helpful things like turn the rollbar into a mood ring: Green means you're single, blue means you're ready to party, and orange means you are about to make a very unfriendly hand gesture.
Artist James Rizzi's "Rizzi Bird" is on everything from the interface icons to the fabric.
The tires are blue.
The surprising part of this styling exercise is that it works: It has a very un-golf cart 54kW electric motor and enough battery capacity to give it a 104 km (65 mi.) range and the electronics and roof are designed to withstand use in a regular vehicle.
Why was this car built? It certainly won't go into production, but it does allow several component suppliers to show their goods to potential customers. This isn't the Rinspeed BamBoo, it's a Rinspeed 4erC Esoro Tecnotex Hornschuch MBtech Harman Eberspächer Catem Goodyear AEZ HTC Fräger Group Henkel RWE BamBoo. Each company offers a part that could be adapted for production in a practical car from the motor to the lightweight speakers. The entire execution might be goofy, but car company executives and designers at the show may have taken a look at one of these components and said, "That would be great for our next vehicle."