Think decaying cucumbers and potato peels don’t pack a lot of punch? Think again. The vehicle puts out only 120 horsepower, but since it weighs just 1,653 pounds, the R1 can go from 0 to 60 in less than six seconds. Talk about fast food.
Frank Rinderknecht – founder and owner of Rinspeed, a Swiss design firm – introduced his compost-fueled creation at the Geneva Motor Show. Because the Swiss government has strict laws concerning vehicle noise and emissions, Rinderknecht wanted the vehicle to be environmentally friendly. So the R1 can run on either gasoline or Kompo gas (fuel made out of fermented waste, mostly kitchen and garden products). Kompo releases 95 percent fewer emissions than traditional fuel and no carbon dioxide. And 220 pounds of it will take you 62 miles without contributing to the greenhouse effect.
Worried you’ll be sputtering along looking for roadside gardens to rob so you can fuel up? Trust me. Stopping at local fruit stands will be the last thing on your mind when driving this car.
Standing at just over 3 feet high, the R1 was made for cruising fast up and down winding roads. The Dynamic Cockpit Control enables the cockpit to automatically change height depending on speed. While driving at up to 25 mph, the cockpit automatically sits in its highest position. Once the R1 exceeds 47 mph, it lowers 12 inches to its lowest point. The cockpit also leans like a motorcycle during turns for added driving excitement.
“This unique combination of automobile, motorcycle and race car cries out for the endless hairpin curves of Mediterranean coastal roads,” says Rinderknecht, “a truly special thrill and a treat.”
Other state-of-the-art features include air inlets reminiscent of shark gills that guide air to the rear mid-ship powertrain. Rear-view mirrors have been replaced with three color cameras that transmit images to LCD monitors inside the cockpit.
The downside? You can forget about picking up a date as you cruise the streets in the R1. There may be plenty of room for rotting vegetables in the fuel tank, but the cockpit only seats one.
Writer Emily Canning is an editorial intern with BodyShop Business.