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Rinspeed sQuba – The Worlds Truly Submersible Spy Car

Check Out The Awesome Sumbersible Rinspeed sQuba!

Updated October 20, 2018

It could arguably be said that James Bond’s most classic car scene was in The Spy Who Loved me from 1977. Roger Moore may be an unconvincing nancy boy when it comes to Bond but that Lotus Esprit he drove into the water as a submersible spy machine set off fireworks in every young kid’s imagination who saw it happen. Its not that the idea of a amphibian or even submersible car was new. It was the fact that James Bond was doing it in a Lotus and it was way cool. Now it was 1977, and no car like that existed which meant those entire floating under water scenes were nothing more than models and some decent animated renderings. But fortunately one of the young men whose imagination was captured was a young Swiss man named Frank M. Rinderknecht. He was all of 22 years old when The Spy Who Loved Me dazzled his cortex with fanciful ideas like submersible sports cars. So many years later, once Rinderknecht started his own concept and design company, he decided to make his own version of the submersible Lotus spy car. The Rinspeed sQuba.

rinspeed squba subersible car

The sQuba was the world’s first true submersible car and made its debut in March 2008 and dazzled visitors at the Geneva Motor Show. Rinspeed boss Frank Rinderknecht had garnered an impressive reputation for his extraordinary automotive creations by this point. Rinderknecht would be the first to admit that he was greatly influenced by his fascination with James Bond and with that car scene in particular from The Spy Who Loved Me. In fact he after discussing how he constantly found himself replaying that scene in his mind he was quoted as saying, “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.”

The Rinspeed sQuba is based on the Lotus Elise. It is capable of a stable submerged flight to a remarkable depth of 10 meters. This puts even military vehicles to shame because, while there are military vehicles that can go under water, they are incapable of underwater flight and limited to driving slowly over the waterbed. And it was no doubt a remarkable challenge and technological achievement to engineer a car that could maneuver like a fish under water.

Rinspeed sQuba submersible car 2

The first thing the engineering team did was remove the combustion engine and replace it with several electric motors. Three of those motors are located in the rear. One is dedicated to pure propulsion on land and in water and the other two drive turbines for underwater motoring.  These motors are augmented by two powerful Seadoo type jet drives in the front. And just like a Seadoo the rotating outlet water jets were designed extremely light and fully rotational. If there is no one in the car the Rinspeed sQuba will surface automatically and the car is capable of autonomous driving on land assisted by a sophisticated laser sensor system designed by the Hamburg company Ibeo.  The car is fully electric powered by means of rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries. The sQuba is a zero-emission car that produces no exhaust emissions.

Suddenly every James Bond fanboy can have the spy car of their dreams because Rinspeed has been promising the sQuba will go into production. They tell us it will cost less than a Rolls Royce. Whatever that means.

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Calvin Escobar
About Calvin Escobar

The Car scene is so diverse Where I come from, most enthusiasts recognize the amazing engineering (particularly the engines). The bulk of the ridicule originates from the manner in which many of the vehicles are modded/maintained. Thus, the jokes and or hate tends to be aimed more at the owner rather than the machine. All of which makes seeing properly sorted old Toyota's and Hondas at car meets, auto shows, and track days all the more refreshing.

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