The sQuba concept was announced back in January 2008 and will be unveiled to the public at the Ganeva Motor Show.
In "The Spy
Who Loved Me" (1977) Roger Moore dove below the waves in a Lotus Esprit. But the scene never really took place; it
was an animation.
Rinspeed boss Frank M.
Rinderknecht (52) is a
James Bond enthusiast and 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.”
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.”
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.
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).
When the driver cracks the
door to let the water in, 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.
“For safety reasons we have built the vehicle as an
open car so that the occupants can get out quickly in an emergency. With an enclosed cabin
opening the door might be impossible.
But safety wasn’t the only reason for choosing an
With an enclosed volume of just two cubic meters of air the vehicle weight
would have to increase by two tons to counteract the unwanted buoyancy, giving the“sQuba” the land mobility of a turtle.
Without occupants the “sQuba” surfaces automatically.
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.
3-D foil elements with embossed fish and sharkskin patterns from Wetzel Processing Group
and Hornschuch contribute to the exterior look. Together with styling
elements from Foliatec they create a matt-white appearance.
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.
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.”
The innovative salt-water resistant interior was developed by Strähle
+ Hess and features genuine mother-of-pearl trim and diamond-plated non-slip inlays from KGS
Diamond, normally used in high-tech abrasives.
The VDO instrument cluster and controls create a futuristic ambiance and allow
controlling all vehicle functions even while submerged.
Whether it’s the color mood; choice of materials or the workmanship – the wonderful
underwater world with its fascinating light and interplay of colors and Q’s genius were the
inspirations for the sQuba’s interior designs.
The underwater world’s particular light refraction was translated into
reality using exceptional yarns and their individual combination.
“We would like all our textiles
to be at the centre of attention thanks to the special light they emit or reflect,” says Claudia
Khalil, Chief Designer at Strähle + Hess, when describing the company’s materials
The vehicle seat is the central element pulling together all the textiles used in the vehicle.
The knitted fabric has been designed with a silver/yellow fish scale texture; the padding has
been finely quilted and has a harmoniously distinctive herring bone pattern.
To ensure that
nothing can slip – either above or below water – Strähle +
Hess have gone for a diamond-coated non-slip textile in silver/yellow with a “sushi roll” on the
edges for additional grip.
The seat is edged with a
blue/yellow “tweaved” stripe, giving it a visual focus and definition in contrast to the other
To enable water to run off better when surfaced all the materials are backed with a
spacer fabric open on the inside; the ensuing capillary function allows the textiles to dry more
quickly and prevents any excessive weight gain while submersed.
Mother-of-pearl has been used for the
door linings, steering wheel and gear knob.
Veneered like a fish scale the
material on the gear knob corresponds to the pearly fibred yarn, also
manufactured using the “tweaving” process, which discreetly shimmers under the textile
coverings and on the display.
- Esoro – main technical partner, contractor for project management,
implementation of new technologies, engineering, rendering, design and the manufacturing
- AEZ – alloy wheels, featuring a painting technology that allows for resistance against salt water from the sea.
- HS Genion – Cooling Air Management System
- Ibeo – laser technology for autonomous driving
- KGS Diamond Group – diamond abrasives
- KW Automotive – suspension technology
- Seabob – jet drives
- Strähle + Hess – Interior
- VDO – instrument cluster