2008 Rinspeed sQuba Concept World's first underwater car

Back in 1977, James Bond took a Lotus Esprit for a swim in The Spy Who Loved Me. It's only fitting that Swiss design company Rinspeed, known for its crazy concepts that often involve playing in the water, has based its newest creation on the Lotus Elise. Called the sQuba,

The sQuba is an all-electric vehicle with three motors, one to drive the car on land and two to power a pair of screw drives for underwater movement. These are aided by two Seabob jet drives that "breathe" through rotating louvers mounted on the car's fenders and appear to give the car its maneuverability underwater.

Some might think a submersible convertible sounds like a submarine with a screen door, but Rinspeed has got a handful of reasons why it didn't go with a closed cockpit. Safety is one, because in an emergency, occupants might not be able to exit a closed cockpit vehicle underwater. Buoyancy was another, as the vehicle would've needed two tons of extra weight to offset the volume of air inside a cockpit, which would've seriously compromised the car's on-road handling. The small issue of breathing underwater is solved by an onboard breathing system that works like, what else, scuba gear.

As it is, the sQuba appears to act just like a normal Elise on land and rides on a stainless coil-over suspension wearing Pirellis wrapped around custom forged lightweight AEZ wheels (17-inches in front, 18 out back).

Other unique features include a salt-water resistant interior, super high-friction diamond abrasive materials so you don't float out of your seat, and a laser sensor system for driverless motoring that's been field tested at the DARPA Challenge. Clearly, Rinspeed has thought of everything, imbuing the sQuba with more technology than Q gave James in that old Esprit.

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[Source: Rinspeed]