Our Daydreaming Designer Imagines The Perfect Little Escape Pod-Car For Your Big Truck

Topshot 25

If you’re a creature of conventional thinking, the whole EV revolution will likely soon boggle your mind like eating burgers for breakfast. Many of the parameters of typical car design imposed by internal combustion drivetrains will soon be out the window.

A few weeks back we dabbled a bit in the possibilities with the ‘Superfrunk’ gran turismo car with proportions and cargo space unheard of in fossil fuel powered vehicles.

Untitled 1

Still, that was just scratching the surface. We need to look at more extreme possibilities, and if you want what-the-fuck-is-that semi-plausible concepts, I’m your guy.

Let’s not even start with ‘a car’ per say; let’s look at a ‘transportation system’(I know, that sounds boring as hell but I can assure it will NOT be). You see, while many of the Autopian staff cannot imagine life without at least ten cars to their name, the vast majority of the population can make do with far less.

With many people working from home and living in congested urban locations, the requirements for family transport for many seem to be:

-Often multiple drivers needing multiple cars, at least occasionally

-One of the cars will need to be able to make distance trips and trips with the whole family

-One of those cars will be used mainly for short, low speed local trips primarily with one person

-If they need more than two or even five seats, it will be on very rare occasions; however, they still need the option

-You’re lucky to get one assigned parking spot, or a single garage space

I personally transport myself and a briefcase (nothing else) to the office five or six days a week in a basically empty 3600 pound station wagon.

It’s almost as if you need a modular, Russian doll approach to your cars. I want one ‘big’ thing that fits in a sole parking spot or garage in Queens or Long Island and then splits into a smaller vehicle to take into Manhattan. Oh, and maybe something smaller to go the train station when I’m feeling lazy.

This is not a new challenge, and there have been proposed solutions before, but few have made sense.  One particular failure was the 1990 Plymouth Voyager III. This sausage-shaped thing is actually made in two sections; the front is a small three-seat, four-cylinder runabout, but it hooks up to a rear section that adds two more rows of seats and another four cylinder engine to make an eight-seat, eight-cylinder van when joined together. Separated, the little car in front works fine, but the back module is now just a big immobile box with a gaping hole on one end- what are you supposed to do with that shit? You can see why this idea went nowhere.

1990 Plymouth Voyager Iii Concept Van 4

source: 95 octane

What could work? A possible idea came to me when looking at, of all things, a picture of how two dummies transported a $1200 Chinese golf cart in the back of a 1985 version of a 1963 truck.

Chang Jeep

source: Jalopnik

Here’s another picture from of one of those dummies with the unboxed little car in a larger, more contemporary pickup bed:Changli F250

 

source: Jason Torchinsky

If this car-within-a-truck thing sort of worked here, would it be feasible for a modern EV? I think so, but remember that you’re talking to a guy who just did an Airstream car concept with a toilet in it and a van for three-foot-diameter currency.

First, we’ll need a primary vehicle, and for shits and grins let’s just choose a Rivian since it’s an interesting design, and unlike the Cybertruck it actually exists. Also, the Rivian has height adjustable suspension, which will come into play later.

2022 Rivian R1t (in Glacier White), Front 6.21.22

source: wikipedia

Like most four door trucks, the bed of the Rivian is pretty damn short; at 54 inches, it’s not nearly long enough for any kind of car to fit (a Smart Fortwo is 100 inches long). However, we don’t have to give up yet, since there are a number of solutions from the not-so-distant past to this issue.

In 2012, a Spanish company created a car based on an MIT design called the Hiriko with wheels and motor at back that could slide to change the shape of the car from 100 inches long to a skinny, tall format only 59 inches in length. You can read more about this interesting experiment but the end result was just a few cars being built and the developers accused of fraud.

Hiriko Fold 4

source: Engadget and Inhabit

‘Our’ car would be a small Smart-type two seater with a front opening Isetta-style door (and folding steering column) that would stow in the bed of the Rivian pickup. This little car, with the sickeningly cute name Riv-It, would not contort in such a severe way as the Hiriko, but the rear wheels and motor would telescopically extend out the back of the car to give it a more drivable wheelbase.

Img20221030 16085591

Screenshot (112)

source: Rivian and The Bishop

Img20221030 16074172

source: Cars and Bids and The Bishop

Because the wheels need to slide back in to park in the bed of the Rivian, [Editor’s Note: It looks like it would also take up part of the Rivian’s gear tunnel, but this may be an acceptable compromise, considering that there’s still a big frunk – JT]  you really couldn’t have a permanent cargo trunk in back of the little car, but there could be a collapsible thing on back that would hold soft cargo bags or detachable hard cases for you to remove and carry into your house (or, worst case, toss in the back of the Rivian or in the passenger compartment of the Riv-It).

Img20221031 20432163

source: The Bishop

Driving your Riv-It into the bed of the Rivian seems like a daunting task, but it’s one you don’t have to do.  You would pull up to the back of your Rivan, hop out, hit ‘Park & Load’ on the screen or your phone and walk away.  Ramps would slide out electrically from the bed, move into position, and the Riv-It would drive itself into place, even hooking up to recharge.

Screenshot (121b)

source: Rivian and The Bishop

There are recesses in the bed floor for the wheels to allow the Riv-It to sit as low as possible and fit below the magic seven foot height standard for garage door openings (with the Rivian set to lowest suspension height). Sadly, I would need to modify the back of the bed area and use the space currently allotted on the Rivian for that cool ‘pass thru’ cargo tunnel behind the rear seat for even the telescoped-in wheels to fit (but maybe it could be useable when the little car was not in place?).

Could you actually drive your Rivian with the Riv-It in place? Of course. You’re adding the 1000 pounds of the little car but honestly with electric power your range will drop but performance will still be great. I’ve added roof rails with a high intensity light bar at the front to help to visually blend the car in back into the shape and not look like the Popemobile as it would without. Possibly the roof rails could fold down for when the Riv-It is not being carried. Also, since it would be locked into place in the bed you could stuff it with cargo or even two more backwards-facing passengers to give you a three row SUV.

Screenshot (121c)

source: Rivian and The Bishop

I would dearly love to have the passengers facing forwards and looking out over the roof of the front like in an old Scenicruiser bus, but there just isn’t enough room unless the bed were longer, and then you’d have to get in from the sides of the Riv-It (say steps where the pass thru tunnel is).

Scenicruiser Restored Fq

source: Curbside Classic

So what if you live in a nice climate and don’t need another car, just some kind of bike or scooter to get around? Rivian could have you covered there as well. Remember the Motocompo, the tiny foldable motorbike that Honda offered in the early eighties to fit in the back of their City hatchback?

Screenshot (107) Copy

source: Bring A Trailer

Here is a scribble of the Rivian collapsible scooter, doubling down on the cutesy name thing and calling it the Rivvy. This collapsible electric bike would be able to fit into the famous ‘pass thru’ gear ‘tunnel’ in the Rivian. The Motocompo was likely HEAVY to lift, but the Rivvy would not only be made from lighter materials, but the battery pack could be detached and loaded separately to break up the weight.

Untitled 12

source: Motorbiscuit and The Bishop

I only wish that I could squish the length of the little car down more so that the Riv-It and Rivvy could both fit in a Rivian at the same time.

BUT WAIT! If we could just extend the wheelbase of the Rivian by less than a foot, we could get the Rivvy to fit behind the Riv-It and maybe even attach to the back of Riv-It to give you all of the options you could want (drive Rivian to your destination, switch to Riv-It for better parking options, then take the Rivvy where cars cannot go).

Screenshot (114) Copy

source: Rivian and The Bishop

Now all of your transportation needs are met, unless you are an Autopian staffer. For that, I’d have to find a way to fit ten old Jeeps or three Smart cars in one parking space. I guess there are Carvana towers available for that?

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit

49 Responses

Leave a Reply