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Monday, February 18, 2008

Squba underwater car


Rinspeed sQuba Concept Diving Vehicle
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A Swiss company has made a James Bond dream-car a reality, creating a vehicle that can travel under water.

More than 30 years ago animation was used in the 007 film, The Spy Who Loved Me, to provide Bond with a car that doubled as a boat.

Now designers at the Swiss company Rinspeed have come up with the sQuba car.

The vehicle, which will go on display at next month's Geneva Motor Show, is an open-topped sports car that can go over land, above the waves and even under the water to a depth of ten metres.

What all did Rinspeed do to make this possible? Well, they removed the combustion engine and replaced it with a variety of electrical motors. For operation on land, the main electric motor makes 73 horsepower and 118 foot-pounds of torque at 4500 rpm. Rinspeed estimates the top speed to be "over 75 mph," but given the weight (less than 2,000 pounds) and power it's probably over 100 mph. Floating in water, the sQuba uses two propellers in the back, powered by an 800 Watt electric motor each, good for a speed of about four knots. Underwater, propulsion is via two electric 5-horsepower Seabob jet drives that breathe through rotating louvers and expell the water through light but twist-resistant Carbon "nano tubes." That gives the sQuba an underwater speed of about two knots. Power is supplied by rechargeable Lithium Ion batteries. Rinspeed states "the sQuba's filling station is the water reservoir,” referring to the electric hydropower the Swiss are experts in. Operating diving depth is around 33 feet.

When going under, the car's occupants use an integrated air supply system with two gas tanks -- one 15 liters, the other 18 liters -- and Scubapro regulators, specifically Scubapro's classic and very reliable air-balanced G250V second stage. The Scubapro gear and the tanks are mounted behind the passengers.

Once under water, the occupants' breath from an integrated tank of compressed air similar to that used by scuba divers.

On land, it uses a laser scanner system to essentially drive itself. For underwater operation, Rinspeed and its partners designed a cockpit and instruments that's inspired by the elegant shape and lines of a Manta Ray.

The company claims the car is not only revolutionary but extremely "green" as well. It is a zero-emission vehicle and has a salt water-resistant interior.

Rinspeed boss Frank Rinderknecht, 52, who is a keen Bond fan, said: "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.

Official website here.
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