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The Swiss concept-car scientists at Rinspeed are readying another experiment in materials chemistry for the Geneva show this year — this time in honor of their 30th anniversary. It's called the eXasis — a "glass car" made from the latest plastics. While the errant upper-case letter in its name denotes super high-tech, its transparent, cigar-shaped body and open wheels do so equally well, as designers reimagined the legendary Auto Union racers of the 1930s in the form of a modern Baja-1000 off-road vehicle (their words, not ours). It weighs only around 1650 lbs, and is powered by a supercharged, twin-cylinder 750 cc engine configured to run on bioethanol, which is like gas, only with more muesli. Click through for suitably inflated language after the jump.

Press Release:

A "Glass Car" Made from Plastic

World premiere at the Geneva Auto Show 2007 for the Company's 30th Anniversary

Is it just a clever 3-D projection or maybe a mirage of a four-wheel art object? Or is it actually a real car sitting there? Some visitors to this year's Geneva Auto Show (March 8th thru 18th) will ask themselves just these questions when faced with the new fully transparent Rinspeed creation "eXasis." The insect-like body and even the floor pan of the seemingly "glass" concept car from the renowned Swiss powerhouse for new designs and ideas actually consist of a transparent high-tech plastic with a tinge of pale yellow.


The "eXasis" has open wheels, a cigar-shaped body with fore and aft tandem seating, and has elements of the legendary Auto Union race cars from the first half of the last century combined with a modern Baja-1000 off-road vehicle.

The transparency "dematerializes" the car to a large extent. Behind the seemingly fading matter the spirit of the "eXasis" reveals itself: The ideas, thoughts and imagination that were the basis of its development. For Rinspeed boss Frank M. Rinderknecht the "eXasis" symbolizes this development process, a process that takes immaterial spirit and turns it into matter, transforms a mere vision into a concrete car: "And in all its transparency the "eXasis" still seems as if it hadn't arrived fully yet in the material world."

Definitely part of the material world is the engine of the concept car: A compact and powerful two-cylinder 750-cc engine provides some 150 environmentally friendly horsepower for swift conveyance. Bioethanol that reduces CO2 emissions powers the tiny supercharged engine. With a projected vehicle weight of just 750 kilograms thanks to plastic lightweight construction each horsepower has to account for just five kilograms - on a level with a Porsche.


Altogether these figures give plenty of reasons to expect of loads of driving fun and numerous visionary technologies and innovations from Rinspeed's "eXasis." A very special thrill will be the view through the transparent floor pan - it will be an absolutely unique anniversary ride.

More on Rinspeed [internal]