With Rinspeed, we have a very interesting, creative and open development partner. When I first heard about the project, I thought that this concept sounds very innovative, practical, ecological and flexible – a very smart response to our future needs,” says Caroline Hartmann, fashion team designer, automotive, at Stahl. “Parts which have different lifecycles can be disconnected and replaced. We discussed the name of the car a lot, as it’s not easy to put all the meaning of this car into one little word, but finally the perfect name was found: Snap.”
The Snap has a two-piece structure comprising a ‘skateboard’ chassis and a passenger cell ‘pod’. The pod can be ‘snapped’ on and off for updates – or to be used as a fully-connected stationary cabin, camping hut, workspace or, for example, a shelter for an outdoors coffee-shop. It’s the third Rinspeed concept car project Stahl has been involved with. “We have regular meetings with [Rinspeed founder and CEO] Frank M. Rinderknecht and the interior development partner companies, in which we discuss the possibilities together. Everybody is involved to bring ideas and the newest materials and technologies their company can offer, and we discuss how to proceed and best combine these,” says Hartmann.
“The main idea for the Snap was to create an interior that reflected both high tech and ecological or sustainable themes. It should appear like a comfortable meeting room, although this is just one option,” she explains. “The goal was to have an emotional and eye-catching design and appearance – and the target was to match all the materials in harmony. The interior is also about innovative solutions, so we tried to come up with new and surprising ideas.
“We decided to use beautiful, natural leather in a cognac colour, but on the other hand, the high tech materials are more futuristic-looking in white and silver with technical embossing. The dark blue we used for the textile and other elements provides a contrast. For the pale leather, together with Bader, we used the Stahl EasyWhite Tan processing system which is more sustainable: it uses less water and energy, and it is free of hazardous substances. In addition, it reduces the number of steps in the tanning process and uses sustainable resources such as plant fibres. On the Bader leather, and on the futuristic material from Kolon, we used a very thin finish of our bio-based PolyMatte. This finish comes from rapeseed oil and gives a smooth matte effect; it also reduces squeaking thanks to its flexibility and resistance, very important for a car that will be used as a living and working space.
“Then we added our Stay Clean solution to protect the surfaces of the materials. This finishing technology, for both leather and synthetic surfaces, adds properties to the substrate that hinder the pick-up and migration of stains and dyes – think of spilled coffee, or even the blue dye from jeans. And we used our Edge Paint technology on the leather piping, to put highlights on the seats.” Adding the lighting effect to the seats was a challenge, she says, but this worked well in the end to give an additional technical effect.
“We had fantastic team work with all the development partners, and we are all very happy with the result,” Caroline Hartmann concludes. “For us, partnership is the key element for creating new and innovative solutions. At our headquarters in Waalwijk, we have developed our Automotive Center of Excellence, where we invite OEMs, Tier suppliers and other partners to share knowledge, passion and enthusiasm to open up future possibilities.”