Amphibious cars have been around in one form or another since the 60’s, both in James Bond movies and in the garages of people with altogether too much money to spend.
One of the rare automobile variants that has actually been successfully brought to market, it has nevertheless been nothing more than a novelty niche vehicle.
That all could change if Rinspeed actually moves ahead with production of their sQuba Concept. This sporty 2 door roadster is not only an attractive, peppy road car but it also claims to be able to submerge to a depth of up to ten meters and then cut through the water like a submarine.
That’s right – this convertible can actually go underwater.
If at first that seems like the worst possible thing you could do with the top down, well, you are right. To top things off, the entire vehicle is powered exclusively by batteries.
Assuming the idea of driving a topless submarine car into a lake and dunking the batteries in water hasn’t completely turned you off, then you might also be interested to know that this miracle of engineering has a dual propulsion system once undersea.
Two propellers at the rear of the car and two jet propulsion devices at the front push the sQuba on its course. Based on the Lotus Elise, the car employs carbon nano-tubes to keep the weight down and buoyancy just right.
The driver and passenger benefit from a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA – get it?) that provides them with enough air to survive their deep-sea excursions. Equally impressive, a laser sensor system can actually pilot the car completely autonomously, if required.
It is interesting to note that the famous Bond submarine car was also a Lotus, albeit the larger Esprit model. It also had a roof. But moving beyond the movie tie-in, it is important to note that Rinspeed has achieved their goal of a submersible sports car while at the same time creating a zero-emissions vehicle.
When a boutique designer like Rinspeed can devote enough resources to such an outlandish concept car yet at the same time ensure that the vehicle maintain an environmental consciousness, it begs the question as to why major auto manufacturers aren’t able to muster up their enormous resources and create at least one commercially viable electric vehicle.
The Rinspeed sQuba is a fun idea, a car that will likely never be mass produced, but it is also a wake up call to those who would steer away from ecological innovation and continue to toe the status quo line. Perhaps one day a sQuba will rise up out of the waters of lake Michigan and startle the big three into action.