Joyful fusion fasteners abound in this 100% green vehicle
One of the more unique concepts shown off at Munich is BMW’s i Vision Circular, a literal embodiment of how the company believes recycling should work.
BMW says the Circular is representative of its models circa 2040. It is roughly the same length as its own i3, or about 13 feet. It’s made with recyclable materials and thus is entirely 100 percent recyclable.
An electric vehicle with a solid-state battery pack composed of (you guessed it) almost entirely recyclable materials. The recycled aluminum bodywork over the pack reduces the number of necessary parts as much possible and links each one that avoids the following – glues, adhesives and composites – while making disassembly a cinch. That means you’d find quick-release fasteners, press studs and cords along with a custom, laser-etched fastener called “joyful fusion.”
BMW says this simplicity of disassembly plus over-the-air firmware upgrades could add years to the vehicle’s life.
When it comes to the styling cues buyers have long sought, some have gone digital while the infamous roundel followed the path of the joyful fusion fastener. The aluminum wears a light gold finish called Anodizes Mystic Bronze with a rear section of recycled, heat-treated steel colored Temper Blue. A hem that surrounds the hatch, the bumpers and sides sills come from recycled plastic. The tires are composed of recycled rubber imbued with colored rubber particles to strengthen the compound. The wheels stay centered thanks to more joyful fusion fasteners.
Inside, portal doors give easy access to the forward lounge chairs and an elevated rear bench and have cushion-like restraints. The color scheme here is taupe, violet, mint with anodized bronze accents. Three-dimensional (3-D) printing reduces interior waste.
The instrumental panel is where physical meets digital, or phygital happens. A crystal in the dash contains “nerve-like” pieces that use the visible spectrum to demonstrate when Circular is thinking (no animated circles progress bars or hourglasses here). Infotainment and instrumentation get projected wide across the lower windshield. Drivers can choose what is shown and where by using thumb pads recessed into the 3-D-printed steering wheel.
Back passengers can luxuriate beneath a dimmable glass panel in the roof, use speakers to create separate listening zones for each occupant and ruminate on C-pillar lamps made from reused iDrive knobs that their grandparents might have once used.
The Circular’s materiel and methods point the way to BMW using 50 percent recycled material in vehicles across its brand as it seeks “to become the world’s most sustainable manufacturer in the individual premium mobility space.”