- the bmw i vision circular is bmw's idea of an electric compact car in 2040, geared toward reducing components and using recycled material.
- the car's body is made from a mix of recycled aluminum and steel, while the kidney grille and side window trim are replaced by digital surfaces.
- the interior features relaxing colors, a 3d-printed steering wheel, and an odd but beautiful crystal interface in place of a traditional center console.
while most automakers have been previewing their upcoming fleet of electric vehicles with thinly veiled concepts, bmw is using the 2021 iaa auto show in munich to look further ahead, presenting the i vision circular. this hatchback concept previews the compact bmw of 2040 and acts a demonstrator of bmw's goals for developing sustainable but luxurious vehicles.
at around 157 inches long, the four-seat concept is about 20 inches shorter than the 2-series gran coupe, bmw's smallest current offering in the united states. however, its electric powertrain and one-box, pod-style profile mean the i vision circular is spacious inside. the concept's main priority is in reducing the number of components overall and using recycled materials for the parts that remain. the concept wound up 100 percent recyclable, including the solid-state battery which itself is manufactured almost entirely from recycled material. bmw's sustainability philosophy is found at the car's core: it avoids bonded connections and composite materials for the vehicle's construction, instead opting for cords, press studs, and quick-release fasteners, making it easier to break down and re-recycle.
most of the body is built from recycled aluminum with a light-gold anodized finish, but it morphs into a deep blue color at the heat-treated steel rear end. the kidney grille becomes a digital element with a snazzy graphic that attempts to emulate traditional bmw grilles. instead of chrome trim around the window edges, a digital surface wraps up and into bmw's famed hofmeister kink, and bmw says this could be used to display vehicle information to approaching passengers. the trim pieces along the bottom of the concept are recycled plastic with a marbled look and bmw says that the tires, which have a slight blue tint, are composed of sustainably cultivated natural rubber.
the interior features a calming color scheme, with the floor and door panels in a light mint green, the seats upholstered in a light violet recycled fabric, and the accents finished in the same gold-bronze as the car's body. a glass roof creates an airy cabin and the front seats are meant to look like lounge chairs, while the rear gets a bench. instead of an instrument panel, the dashboard features a 3d-printed, crystal sculpture with a mesmerizing lighting effect. bmw says this is "where the vehicle's 'thinking' is visualized" but does not go into details on what that might look like.
information for the driver is found on the head-up display, which stretches across the entire width of the bottom of the windshield. the steering wheel is 3d-printed as well and has a unique, central spoke and two touchpads with the same crystal appearance. bmw says that the rear seats each have their own "dedicated sound zone," allowing you to check out the latest drake album while your friend sitting next to you listens to death metal in, uh, peace. the c-pillar reuses a glass idrive controller from a bmw ix as a lamp.
with the time frame set so far in the future, the i vision circular may just seem like a flight of fancy. however, bmw says that the approach outlined by the concept will help them increase the amount of recycled and reused material in each of their vehicles from the current 30 percent to 50 percent and that while the concept doesn't directly preview the upcoming line of neue klasse electric cars, the i vision circular's sustainable credo will also guide the development of those vehicles.