Swiss car tuner Rinspeed has come up with some whacky ideas for cars over the years.

While their concepts are always entertaining, it would be mistake to dismiss them entirely — they’re pictures of what might be in future.

Rinspeed’s latest creation, SNAP, or more accurately the microSNAP, may spell the end of delivery vans and hi-viz clad drivers as we know them.

Presented for the first time at the Consumer Electronics Show last year in Las Vegas, Rinspeed has reduced the size of the concept in line with its new motto — “think mighty micro”.

The microSnap concept proposes an electric, autonomous vehicle with interchangeable bodies and chassies, together with a fully automated robot station that can change combinations autonomously.

But here’s the interesting bit.

As far as the Swiss automotive visionary is concerned, the days of large delivery vehicles that serve customers in sequence over the course of a day are numbered.

Because online business is booming and now includes the fresh food sector, Rinspeed believes deliveries will in future be carried out by small autonomous vehicles that “swarm” out to bring their goods to the customer without detours — and ‘just in time.’

Snap is not limited to goods and fast food either, with a passenger cell part of its interchangeable inventory.

“Customers increasingly want prompt deliveries and many passengers are unwilling to use shared taxis, which have to take time-consuming detours by design,” Rinderknecht said.

Under the Snap system, the chassis is known as a “Skateboard” and the body of the vehicle as a “Pod”.

Pods can be mated with whatever skateboards are currently available.

While skateboards are recycled after a few years, because they will have reached the end of their service life.

Rinspeed says this avoids expensive and complicated hardware updates.

In keeping with an established tradition, the 25th concept car from Rinspeed was again designed at Swiss company 4erC and constructed at Esoro, which also handled the technical implementation.

As always when Rinderknecht is at work, the electric vehicle is chock-full of technical and visual treats contributed by a network of renowned companies from around the world.

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.