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Driving with the Fishes

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The James Bond comparisons are inevitable for Rinspeed’s new sQuba. The Swiss company will debut the amphibious concept car at the Geneva Auto Show next month, and flashbacks to Roger Moore and a bikinied woman will no doubt follow.

The sQuba — note the big Q, another nod to James Bond lore — is a car capable of driving on land at a top speed of about 77 mph, and then driving straight into water. It can move about three mph on the surface or dive down as deep as 30 feet where it slows to 1.8 mph. The sQuba’s ability to completely submerge in water makes it different — not to mention superior — to typical amphibious cars like those the military use: The sQuba is a true submersible, whereas military vehicles like the LARC-V can only wade slowly on a lakebed or coast.

Rinspeed accomplished this with three electric motors, one of which powers the car on land and two that turn the underwater screw that propels the vehicle in its water driving. The only catch is that for safety reasons, Rinspeed made the sQuba a convertible, so occupants will remain exposed underwater and will have to breathe from a tank of compressed air as if they were scuba diving.

So what will a brand new sQuba set you back? The prototype cost $1.5 million, but Rinspeed thinks it can get the price down to a cool $400,000 if it reaches limited production.

No Fins but Rinspeed’s ‘sQuba’ Car Still Swims. Really! (USA Today)

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