BMW is pushing some important topics with the i Vision Circular study that it jus revealed at IAA Mobility 2021. While its striking and unusual design, which hints at what a 2040 BMW could be like, may be the initial talking point, there are a lot more interesting things to discuss about it.

One clue to its philosophy lies in its name - Circular - referring to the fact that it is envisioned as being made completely out of recycled materials. BMW also wants this vehicle to be 100 percent recyclable when it will eventually no longer be used. As a result, the manufacturer has had quite a different approach when creating i Vision Circular.

So what happens to a vehicle at the end of its life? Well, it ends up being disassembled in order to recycle as much of it as possible, before throwing everything that is of no value away. BMW is thus putting a lot of focus on how the vehicle will be disassembled and is trying to come up with ways to reuse everything.

Gallery: BMW i Vision Circular (2021)

The manufacturer explains, for instance, that it’s not just easy to remove the seat from the car, but it’s also really straightforward to dismantle the seat itself and retrieve its components that can either be re-used or recycled. BMW says this vehicle’s body is covered in an anodized aluminum second and that the blue tint you can see on the rear end is actually not achieved with paint, but with heat-treating that part of the shell, which is actually steel.

But while the body is made out of metal, the bumper is made from recycled plastic and the manufacturer says it has 'a sophisticated marble surface'. The rear bumper is also made out of what BMW specifically calls ‘visibly recycled plastic,' and this basically means you can see the plastic fibers that make up the material.

The wheels were designed with the same ideas of reuse and sustainability in mind and the tires, which are mildly translucent, are made out of 100 percent natural rubber and feature recycled rubber particles that BMW says not only add strength but also create

An intriguing terrazzo effect which purposefully highlights the reuse of materials.

Inside, you may be surprised to note that even though this is a vehicle envisioned for the year 2040, it still features a steering wheel and it doesn’t seem to have been designed to retract into the dash when the vehicle is in autonomous mode. It does look like a fun lounge on wheels where you can have a pleasant time with friends and the design is certainly bold and futuristic with the 

Classical instrument panel is turned into a next-generation user interface. At its heart is a 3D-printed, crystal body, which reacts to hand movements with an enthralling lighting effect. 

The crystal body is bordered on both sides by naturally treated wood from externally certified sources. Gold-bronze metal elements made from anodized secondary aluminum connect the instrument panel to the A- pillars. 

And special attention is given to the steering wheel, which 3D printed from wood powder, providing a pleasant texture for the driver’s hands. BMW is clearly looking to keep drivers’ hands on the steering wheel, even in the year 2040...

In fact, the press release doesn’t seem to contain a single reference to autonomous driving of any kind, and in all the dynamic photos in the gallery, there’s always someone at the wheel. This vehicle is therefore just a preview of how BMW wants to apply some of its sustainability principles and the manufacturer is very keen to note that its design does not preview the upcoming ‘Neue Klasse.’

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