The BMW i Vision Circular Concept Vehicle is a concept car that envisions the future of premium four-seat electric cars. With radical dimensions and styling details, the new concept reveals a completely new design language at the 2021 Munich Motor Show. It’s roughly comparable in size to the current BMW i3 electric supermini, but BMW boss Oliver Zipse insists it’s purely a conceptual study and does not represent the company’s proposed Neue Klasse design language due to being introduced in 2025.
A carbon-neutral EV was determined via circular economy principles rather than traditional features, as each of those emphasized “rethinking, reducing, reusing and recycling”. Materials used to produce the concept are all recycled, and all of them can be recycled again. As part of this, BMW has developed a solid-state battery with a higher energy density than lithium-ion battery packs and a lower environmental impact.
A commitment to reduce the vehicle’s number of parts, materials and finishes reflects the ‘reduce’ clause of the brief in its design. This includes the exterior, with a digital graphic surface replacing BMW’s traditional kidney grille; the taillights integrated under a darkened glass tailgate, and the BMW roundels etched into the body. BMW reinvents the SUV with the i Vision Circular, which combines elements from SUVs and MPVs.
BMW’s trademark Hofmeister kink is replaced by a digital panel around the car’s wheels to maximize interior space and maximize useable interior space. Doors leading into the interior open in opposite directions on either side of the building.
A secondary aluminium body, which has an unpainted finish to further save resources. This is akin to the minimalist Strip concept designed under a similar ethos by in-house brand Mini. A light-gold anodising finish is applied to the aluminium, contrasted with the rear’s heat-treated steel surface. Natural rubber is also used for the tyres, which are sustainably cultivated.
The car interior combines luxurious design with eco-friendly manufacturing and materials. The panoramic glass roof enhances the interior’s lighting, while four seats resemble furniture more than traditional car seats. Aluminium is used for the frame and recycled plastic is used for the upholstery.
A BMW term ”phygital” experience (combining physical and digital) is what BMW calls the instrument display. An extended, V-shaped panel is 3D-printed into the cabin. The crystal body is enthralling due to the electrically entrancing light that is projected and the finished piece is finished in naturally treated wood.
A head-up display is attached to the windscreen below the instruments, replacing the instruments behind the steering wheel. A 3D-printed steering wheel gives the driver the option to move elements according to their preferences using interactive pads. The sound system has also been redesigned digitally.
The i Vision Circular is positioned as a futuristic concept since BMW hasn’t shared any technical information, such as power and range, other than that it has a solid-state battery. According to the company, the car will be capable of bi-directional charging via the grid as well as data-based smart mobility systems.
Are there any plans to produce it?
Although BMW says that it doesn’t plan to manufacture the i Vision Circular, one can expect a few of its design details and circular economy principles to be integrated into the company’s future electric vehicles.
In order to prepare for the launch of the radically different Neue Klasse generation of electric vehicles, BMW plans to launch 12 new electric vehicles by 2023.