“I love coming here to Villa d’Este, walking among the vintage cars and discovering details I didn’t know yet. It’s a celebration of design”. For Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design, the Concorso d’Eleganza that takes place every year on the shores of Lake Como is an unmissable event.
This is why the BMW Group, a partner of the event for many years, inaugurated the 2021 edition of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa D’Este by bringing together its Vision iNext, i4 Concept and Vision Circular concept cars, “an expression of the themes on which we are working intensively for an increasingly electric and connected, or digitized if you prefer, mobility. Above all, we need to become much more sustainable”, explains Van Hooydonk.
“Customers trust us”
For decades the BMW brand has been associated with the slogans “The ultimate driving machine” and “Freude am Fahren” (the pleasure of driving), doesn’t it seem a little strange to think of a BMW of the future as a living room in which to travel without being at the wheel? “We also sell our cars in countries with strict speed limits, like the Netherlands where I come from. I believe that customers will continue to trust BMW because they know how the cars are made”.
The i Vision Circular
And, finally, the last concept car, the i Vision Circular, “the small MPV we designed for the Munich show, conceived for the city. It has a similar footprint to an i3 and is a pure electric, of course. It is a laboratory full of ideas for how to get to a circular economy, every aspect is designed to be disassembled, recovered and reused. Today we can already reuse 40% of one of our cars, we need to do more. It’s a process that has to be conceived from the outset, which makes our task a bit more complex, but it’s part of the job of an industrial designer”.
Reduce to maximize
Rethink everything and reduce: “On the front end of today’s cars, there are about 60 different parts in the headlight assembly alone. Looking at the front end of the i Vision Circular, you can see that we’ve replaced the chrome with light. But it’s on the materials that we’re doing a lot of research, we want to introduce new ones that are 100% recycled or fully natural in origin. We work with our engineers and suppliers, and the latter will play a key role in developing innovative and sustainable materials.”
Emotionality remains the focus
Sustainable, recyclable materials that do not consume large amounts of energy: “In the future, there may also be limitations not only based on how much energy your electric car consumes, but also on how much energy was required to produce it in all of its components. We are already looking ahead for maximum efficiency, from aerodynamics to component weight to processes. We also want our formal language to be reduced, fewer but ‘super-sharp’ lines, so we can express a stronger character with fewer elements”, announces Van Hooydonk. But he reassures us straight away: “The decision to buy a BMW is an emotional one. We want to continue to create forms that are more than function”.
(Full article in A&D no. 251)