It may seem like Mercedes-Benz is stealing the show at IAA Mobility. But this is an event in Munich, the home of BMW. And the Bavarian automaker isn’t going to let its Stuttgart rival get away with the oohs and the aahs: It has revealed its rather interesting concept for personal mobility in the future, the i Vision Circular.
And turn heads, the i Vision Circular does pretty well. Perhaps the only round things on this vehicle are the wheels and the BMW logo. Everything else is an eccentric mix of curves and angles that leaves one thinking if designers had downed a bottle of tequila before going to work. We’ll stop describing the car’s looks right here, lest we receive the wrath of the brand’s fans.
The automotive industry is focusing on sustainability, and each company is coming up with creative ways to reuse as many materials as possible. For example, majority of the skin of the i Vision Circular is said to be made from secondary aluminum, which partially consists of recycled matter. BMW vehicles are currently made with 30% recycled metal, but the automaker is looking into increasing this to 50%.
The tires are made of “Vivid Blue Rubber,” which is sourced from sustainable rubber-tree farms and strengthened with a mix of recycled rubber scraps. BMW even saves on metal with the i Vision Circular’s wheels. Instead of multiple nuts and bolts, the wheels use a center-lock design and are held onto the hub with a quick-release fastener.
In the cabin, the interior panels are composed of 3D-printed parts to minimize material waste. The seats are finished in a special type of upholstery that has recycled plastic in it. The seat construction itself is geared toward reusability as cushions, backrests and seat rails are held together with quick-release clips for ease of sorting prior to recycling.
Being a vehicle focused on eco-friendly transport solutions, the i Vision Circular is electric. But that’s about all the powertrain information BMW is willing to give. However, the concept is an interesting insight into how the company will respond to the challenges of clean mobility. Let’s just hope that the production car gets a better look.