Team Rinspeed is ready to strike again. Joining the shape-shifting iChange on its Geneva show stand will be this petite transformer of another kind: the E2. Based on an Abarth version of the new European Fiat 500, the diminutive E2 has the unique ability to go from a mild-mannered 60-horsepower city runner to a 160-horse freeway flash at the push of a button. For the moment, all Rinspeed headman Frank M. Rinderknecht will confirm about the on-the-fly nature of this rather dramatic changeover is that it involves the "engine electronics" and drops the car's fuel economy from about 59 mpg to roughly 35 mpg. We'll have to wait to see if it might also involve some kind of force-feeding hardware.
Rinderknecht hopes the E2 -- as well as the more radical iChange -- will pave the way towards new directions in design for both automakers and the aftermarket. "I don't believe too much in eco tuning. Many drivers are not willing to miss out on driving fun and don't want to drive something that announces to the world that they do without. But the number of people who want to use our energy supply responsibly, not in the least because they want to protect our environment, will grow quickly."