GENEVA – In "The Spy Who Loved Me," James Bond takes his sports car underwater, swaps his wheels for fins and fires a missile that knocks a pursuing helicopter out of the sky.
Roger Moore's feats as the iconic British spy may be difficult to match, but a Swiss company says it has created a vehicle that really can turn into a submarine — though without the firearms.
• Click here to view more photos.
The concept car developer Rinspeed calls its "sQuba" the first real submersible car.
Unlike military vehicles, which can only drive slowly on a lakebed, Rinspeed says its car can provide a stable "flight" at a depth of 30 feet.
"For three decades I have tried to imagine how it might be possible to build a car that can fly underwater," says Frank Rinderknecht, Rinspeed's 52-year-old CEO and a professed James Bond fan. "Now we have made this dream come true."
The car will be unveiled at next month's Geneva Auto Show.
Rinderknecht says it is difficult to make a car watertight and pressure-resistant enough to be maneuverable underwater.
"The real challenge, however, was to create a submersible car that moves like a fish in water," he added.
Working with engineering specialists, Rinspeed removed the combustion engine from a sports car and replaced it with several electrical motors.
Three are located in the rear, with one providing propulsion on land and the other driving the screw for underwater motoring.
Passengers will be able to keep breathing underwater through an integrated tank of compressed air similar to what is used in scuba diving.
But they will get wet.
"For safety reasons, we have built the vehicle as an open car so that the occupants can get out quickly in an emergency," Rinderknecht said.