Education & the Future
A scene straight out of James Bond: this new car can swim and dive
The first underwater convertible with a Continental instrument panel is environmentally friendly
Hanover, May 2008 – When Roger Moore played British secret agent “007” in the 1977 movie, “The Spy Who Loved Me,” he went scuba diving in a white Lotus Boliden. Movie fantasy has now become reality with the “sQuba,” the world’s first underwater convertible.
Together with Rinspeed, the Swiss tuning and prototype company, Continental introduced the first fully-functional diving car at the 2008 Geneva Auto Show. “It was an interesting task to collaborate on this high-tech car of the future, and to construct a waterproof instrument cluster,” stated Ramesh Krishnan, head of Interior & Telematics.
Consistent with the futuristic vehicle, the designers for automobile supplier Continental developed an interior that includes an instrument cluster that protrudes from the center console like an eye. The cluster combines all the important information and functions in one unit. “The dials, indicator lights and the digital displays overlay each other like lenses, and are integrated in a single aluminum housing unit laminated in mother-of-pearl,” explains Krishnan. In contrast to amphibious vehicles, the racy convertible can sustain dives of up to ten meters. To do this, several electrical powertrains replaced the combustion engine. A total of three engines sit in the back: the one provides propulsion for traveling on land, and the other two drive the propellers for tooling about underwater. Lithium ion batteries ensure a steady supply of voltage. According to Krishnan, “They don’t produce any exhaust gases, so the emission value is zero. This vehicle is cutting edge in terms of the trend toward environmental compatibility.” Rinspeed founder and CEO Frank M. Rinderknecht adds, “This car will do 120 km/h on dry land, but can “swim” on top of the water, too. And it’ll keep doing that until you crack the door open to let just a little water in to initiate the diving procedure. Occupants breathe using diving masks.”
In order to propel itself through and with the water as streamlined as possible - like a fish - the car has been encased in a special sheathing material reminiscent of shark skin. Rinderknecht says that, “This car is demonstrates competency and shows what is possible in the future. sQuba stands for innovation, vision, progress and emotion.” One thing is for certain: Bond tinkerer “Q,” who came up with the high-tech equipment for the special agent, would be proud of this invention. And by the way, this car can, of course, drive by itself….