With the BMW i Vision Circular, the BMW Group is looking ahead to a compact BMW for the year 2040 that is focused squarely on sustainability and luxury. The four-seater is fully electrically powered and offers a generous amount of interior space within its around four-metre-long footprint. Under a single umbrella spanning electric mobility, digitalisation and sustainability, the five pioneering concepts create a versatile mobility mix on two and four wheels fuelled by sustainable thinking, which comprehensively addresses an extremely wide range of mobility needs in the face of fast-changing requirements and growing challenges. It has furthermore been designed according to circular economy principles across the board and therefore symbolises the BMW Group’s ambitious plan to become the world’s most sustainable manufacturer in the individual premium mobility space.
The overriding design aim for the BMW i Vision Circular was to create a vehicle that is optimised for closed materials cycles and achieves 100% use of recycled materials / 100% recyclability. This involves making particular use of materials that have already completed a product life cycle – or secondary materials as they are known – alongside certified bio-based raw materials. The same applies to the energy storage device: the all-solid-state battery in the BMW i Vision Circular is 100 per cent recyclable and manufactured almost entirely using materials sourced from the recycling loop. It will achieve much higher energy density with significantly reduced use of the most valuable resources.
The BMW Group’s overriding aim as it strives to achieve climate neutrality is to reduce CO2 emissions throughout a vehicle’s entire life cycle. These materials, such as secondary aluminium and secondary steel, can be obtained by recycling waste material and then reused. Besides electrifying the product portfolio and switching to renewable energy for manufacturing, the company is focusing particularly on circular economy principles and the use of secondary materials. The process for supplying secondary materials is far less harmful to the environment and carbon intensive compared to the extraction and manufacture of primary material. This can bring about a major improvement in a vehicle’s carbon footprint, especially on the supply chain side. At present, vehicles from the BMW Group are manufactured using nearly 30 per cent recycled and reused material on average.
The design language here is clear and accessible. The proportions, meanwhile, take BMW in a new direction. The circular design approach exudes puristic clarity when viewing the car in profile too. The BMW i Vision Circular has a clear mono-volume design made up of just a small number of parts, with the array of different materials used reduced to a minimum. The vehicle extends in an unbroken volume from the front to rear axle, offering a generous breadth of interior usability within a small footprint. The wheels form almost the outer limits of the vehicle, combining with the prominently flared wheel arches to produce a hunkered-down, sporty stance. Together with its electrified architecture, the Vision Vehicle offers a luxury-class interior on a small car footprint. Even at a standstill, the rising roofline and a cowl panel pushed well forward give the compact silhouette the appearance of surging dynamically down the road.
The display and operating surface below the windows visible on the outside of the car can be found on the inside too, forming a connecting element between interior and exterior. Here again, it extends back into the rear of the car and around the Hofmeister kink. Featuring the same crystal appearance as the instrument panel and ambient lighting, this element in the sidewall adds to the intriguing and mystical aura produced in the cabin. It additionally incorporates a number of functions, including the power window switches, door openers and the controls for the sunshade in the roof. This means it forms the only electronic component in the doors, and it can be simply removed as a module when dismantling the vehicle and then separated and sorted.
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