“Dive it again, James!” If the situation gets too hot for the secret agent he’ll go underground - or under water. So demonstrated impressively by Roger Moore in ‘The Spy Who Loved Me” in 1977 when he dove below the waves in a sleek vehicle that moments before seemed to be an ordinary car. Image Credit: Internet Movie Database (IMDb)
Meet “sQuba” - The Oblate Spheroid's First Submersible Electric Car
An electric powered car … that swims!
Three electric motors are located in the rear compartment of the Rinspeed “sQuba”. One provides propulsion on land, the other two drive the screws for underwater motoring. Image Credit: Rinspeed
That’s right, a “green” car that can go into and tool around in the blue!
The “sQuba” by Rinspeed, is to be introduced to the world at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show (March 6th - 16th, 2008) in Geneva, Switzerland. With this introduction comes the first, ever, car that can actually fly under water.
You drive the car into the water and the car floats. That is, until you crack the door to let the water in. Immediately the “sQuba” starts on his way to the underwater world. The occupants’ breathing air comes from an integrated tank of compressed air that divers know from scuba diving. Image Credit: Rinspeed
Growing up, we all remember going to the movies to watch James Bond take off from a pier, into the water in order to investigate the hijacking of submarines carrying nuclear warheads, in “The Spy Who Loved Me.” Problem was is that this concept car in the 1977 film never existed … movie tricks!
With the introduction of the Rinspeed “sQuba,” the Oblate Spheroid's first real submersible car, the movie fakery now becomes reality.
Thirty years after the movie thriller ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ hit the silver screen “sQuba” is the first car that can actually ‘fly’ under water.
“Dive it again, James!” If the situation gets too hot for the secret agent he’ll go underground - or under water. So demonstrated impressively by Roger Moore in ‘The Spy Who Loved Me” in 1977 when he dove below the waves in a sleek vehicle that moments before seemed to be an ordinary car.
The scene never really took place; it was an animation.
Rinspeed boss Frank M. Rinderknecht (52) is known for his extraordinary automotive creations. The acknowledged James Bond enthusiast and Swiss automobile visionary kept revisiting this scene in his mind over and over: “For three decades I have tried to imagine how it might be possible to build a car that can fly under water. Now we have made this dream come true.”
Levers help to steer the "sQuba" when it is underway, underwater. Image Credit: Rinspeed
And it is this submerged stabile flight at a depth of 10 meters that sets the “sQuba” apart from military vehicles. While the latter can go under water, they are limited to driving slowly over the submerged ground. Rinderknecht: “It is undoubtedly not an easy task to make a car watertight and pressure resistant enough to be maneuverable under water. The real challenge however was to create a submersible car that moves like a fish in water.”
It also had to be a sports car that was converted into a diving dream in the facilities of Swiss engineering specialist Esoro.
In a first step the combustion engine was removed and replaced by several electric motors. Three motors are located in the rear. One provides propulsion on land, the other two drive the screws for underwater motoring. They are supported by two powerful Seabob jet drives in the front, which ‘breathe’ through special rotating louvers from HS Genion (for opening and closing the water intake). The rotating outlet jets were designed to be extremely light yet twist resistant by using high-tech nano materials, so-called Carbon Nano Tubes.
You drive the car into the water and the car floats. That is, until you crack the door to let the water in. Immediately the “sQuba” starts on his way to the underwater world. The occupants’ breathing air comes from an integrated tank of compressed air that divers know from scuba diving.
It is even capable of autonomous driving on land thanks to a sophisticated laser sensor system from the Hamburg company Ibeo - without any help from the driver or passenger.
Power is supplied by rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries. Rinderknecht: “The ‘sQuba’ is a zero-emission car as documented by the rotating license plate in the rear. It produces no exhaust emissions.
For shore leave the “sQuba” relies on a stainless coil-over suspension from KW automotive and large Pirelli tires mounted on custom-made forged light-weight wheels from AEZ with 17- and 18-inch diameters.
Frank M. Rinderknecht and his partners - amongst them also the fleet specialist LeasePlan - have created a truly unusual vehicle and in the process have thought of everything. Even the Motorex lubricants used in the ‘sQuba” are biodegradable. For the Rinspeed boss that is a meticulousness stemming from conviction: “The ‘sQuba’ lets me be one with the elements and lets me immerse myself in a new and fascinating world - with Q factor. It is our duty to protect this world in which we are guests to the best of our ability.” Isn’t it, Miss Moneypenny? - James couldn’t have said it better himself glancing at the sporty Swiss precision chronograph from C.F. Bucherer. Eau la la - shaken, not stirred.
With the intorduction of the Rinspeed "sQuba" ... anyone can become 007! Image Credit: Rinspeed
(ht: The EDJE)