Small electric cars frequently come short in two regards: cargo space and limited range. The Smart ForTwo ED is no exception, but Rinspeed -- that crazy Swiss tuning firm that brought you the submersible Lotus Elise years ago -- may have a solution.
Behold the Dock+Go. The name is fitting, because the basic concept calls for a ForTwo ED -- which offers an EPA-rated range of 63 miles -- to essentially dock with a pod. Yes, that pod adds a third axle and also some length to the vehicle, but it also adds an internal combustion engine, which serves as a range extending generator. The official press release evades technical details; expect those to arrive closer to its official debut at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.
A clever solution? Perhaps -- but we wonder if Chrysler thought of it first. The 1989 Voyager III wasn't electric-powered, but it offered a similar premise: a small runabout that could dock with an add-on section for longer trips. The car itself was a small, three-passenger commuter car powered by a small 1.6-liter engine, but an attachable section added two axles, seating for five, and a 2.2-liter I-4 for additional power.
Is Rinspeed's idea any more production feasible than the Voyager III? Time will tell. Expect more details to emerge closer to the start of the Geneva Motor Show in March.