German car giant BMW has unveiled a revolutionary new 'green' car that goes around in circles forever to save the planet.
That's because the new electric iVision Circular is made entirely of recycled materials - and when it reaches the end of its life can itself be fully recycled to restart the process all over again.
Although the fully electric and zero-emissions iVision Circular is a prototype designed to showcase the firm plans of BMW Group – which includes Britain's MINI and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars – the Bavarian-based car giant says it intends to make all of its vehicles 100 per cent fully recyclable within 20 years.
It also wanted to demonstrate that 'a high level of sustainability can go hand in hand with a luxurious appearance'.
BMW's RECYCLABLE electric car: This is the iVision Circular Concept - an EV made from 100% reused materials that can be completely recycled at the end of its life
Currently, BMWs are manufactured using nearly 30 per cent recycled and reused material on average.
It is working on increasing that in next-generation cars to 50 per cent, and ultimately 100 per cent by 2040.
The prototype safely-disposable car was unveiled today at the IAA Mobility show in Munich.
Bosses said: 'The four-seat BMW iVision Circular looks ahead to a compact, all-electric vehicle for the year 2040 that is focused squarely on sustainability and luxury.
'This Vision Vehicle has been designed according to circular economy principles across the board. The aim is to achieve 100 per cent recycled materials use and 100 per cent recyclability.'
Battery manufacturers estimate that around 30 per cent of lithium-ion batteries currently used in most electric vehicles can be recovered and used in the manufacturing process of new cells.
However, BMW says next generation 'solid-state' batteries – which are able to carry more charge - will have provisions to be fully reused as well as being made almost entirely from recycled materials.
The Bavarian-based car giant says the iVision Circular is its statement of intend to make all of its vehicles 100% recyclable within 20 years
BMW says the iVision Circular concept vehicle will go on forever because it can be entirely reused when it is no longer fit for the road
A 'circular design' approach will be built into the manufacturing process, it added.
The focus is on recycled materials 'which can be disassembled quickly and easily at the end of the product life cycle.'
Setting out examples, BMW said: 'The quick-release fastener for the wheels, seats and instrument panel, and a cord tie in the rear seat bench do most to showcase the detachability of material connections in an aesthetically appealing form.'
The familiar BMW kidney grille and headlights have been re-deigned as a digital surface.
It noted: 'In the future, digital design could make geometric variations in lights and bumpers redundant, helping to reduce the quantity of materials and tools required.'
The focus is on recycled materials 'which can be disassembled quickly and easily at the end of the product life cycle'
Instead of a conventional paint, the surfaces of the iVision Circular are presented in light-gold anodised recycled aluminium. The frame at the rear of the car features bluish-purple surfaces created by the heat treatment process used for the steel
BMW's logo is lasered onto the panels to prevent the use of extra materials and the kidney grille and headlights have been re-deigned as a digital surface
Even the BMW logo is engraved on the front end and the vehicle badge is lasered on to avoid using extra add-on parts.
The bumpers are manufactured from recycled plastic with a sophisticated marbled surface.
The iVision's styling offers 'a luxury-class interior on a small car footprint'.
Instead of a conventional paint finish, the surfaces of the BMW iVision Circular are presented in light-gold anodised recycled aluminium. The frame at the rear of the car features bluish-purple surfaces created by the heat treatment process used for the steel.
The slightly transparent tyres are made from certified, sustainably cultivated natural rubber.
Bosses explained: 'Coloured, recycled rubber particles are added to the tyre compound for strengthening and create an intriguing terrazzo effect which purposefully highlights the reuse of materials.'
The tyres are made from certified, sustainably cultivated natural rubber. Bosses says recycled rubber particles are added to the tyre compound for strengthening and create an intriguing terrazzo effect which purposefully highlights the reuse of materials
The bumpers are manufactured from recycled plastic with a sophisticated marbled surface
Currently, BMWs are manufactured using nearly 30% recycled and reused material on average. It is working on increasing that in next-generation cars to half and ultimately 100% around 2040
Wheel rims are designed for minimal materials use combined with 'the greatest possible aerodynamic efficiency'.
All display surfaces and light functions at the rear are integrated invisibly into the dark glass tailgate'.
When the car is switched off, only the two-dimensional BMW logo in the dark glass surface is visible.
The minimalist and 'aerodynamically optimised' black bumper is made from visibly recycled plastic.
BMW says the interior of its iVision Circular also shows what could be possible in future – with new 'joining techniques' to remove the need for environmentally harmful glues and bonds and make dismantling easier.
To minimise waste and offcuts, all components and materials will be manufactured to fit exactly using processes such as 3D printing. Any surplus material will be fed back for recycling.
What does a fully-recyclable car look like inside?
The bright, spacious and welcoming interior is enhanced by a glass roof and gives those in the front an impression of sitting in the open air.
Two separate lounge seats with integral head restraints use upholstery made from recycled plastic held within a light-gold aluminium frame.
The back of the slim front seat shells is made of recycled plastics with a terrazzo-look finish.
Quick-release fastener allows the metal and fabric to be easily separated and sorted, and then reused.
The iVision Circular showcases hi-tech 'intelligent' features that future motorists will experience including more sensors that react to the user.
The bright, spacious and welcoming interior is enhanced by a glass roof and gives those in the front an impression of sitting in the open air
The traditional instrument panel is replaced with a next-generation 'user interface' with a 3D-printed crystal body at its heart which reacts to hand movements
Coach doors open in the same was a Rolls-Royce, which provides plenty of wiggle room for adults to get into the back. As you can see from this image, the interior floor is completely flat as batteries are likely stored within the chassis
For example, the classical instrument panel is turned into a next-generation 'user interface' with a 3D-printed crystal body at its heart which reacts to hand movements.
The surrounding wood is naturally treated from externally certified sources.
BMW notes: 'The information area you would normally expect to find in a central information display is located above the instrument panel at the bottom of the windscreen.
'The existing windscreen is transformed into an information source and eliminates the need for any other displays in the interior.'
The steering wheel rim has been 3D-printed from wood powder and feels natural and warm to the touch while the 'unconventional' central positioning of the vertical spoke in gold-bronze 'adds a modern twist.'
The large and slightly raised rear bench seat promises 'exceptional comfort for two with its softly padded side bolster'.
Woven fabric with elaborate Jacquard design for the rear seats is made from 100 per cent recycled material while the rear bench seat is bordered by an anodised aluminium frame in gold-bronze. Fabric and frame are held in place by a cord which can be released easily when it is time to dismantle the seat
Deep-pile carpets used in the concept are made from 100% recycled plastic. Even the lamp in the car is made from an iDrive Controller from a BMW iX
Head restraints are designed to look like cushions while the audio speakers are positioned beneath them to n give each seat its own dedicated sound zone.
Woven fabric with elaborate Jacquard design for the rear seats is made from 100 per cent recycled material while the rear bench seat is bordered by an anodised aluminium frame in gold-bronze. Fabric and frame are held in place by a cord which can be released easily when it is time to dismantle the seat.
Deep-pile carpet is manufactured from 100 per cent recycled plastic.
And a glass iDrive Controller from a BMW iX enjoys a second life in the C-pillar - as a lamp.
The 'sound' of the otherwise silent car has been created by Oscar-winning Hollywood com-poser Hans Zimmer and BMW sound expert Renzo Vitale.
When not on the road, the car can also use its battery as a mobile energy storage device to feed power back to its owner's home, or sell back to the grid.
The iVision Circular is one of five new concept vehicles displayed at the IAA Mobility Show in Munich this week.
Another is the iVision AMBY, which BMW says is the first high-speed 'pedelec for urbanists' - or e-bike for cyclists, to you and I.
It features an electric drive system with three speed ratings for different types of roads. The first allowing for speeds up to 15.5mph on cycle tracks, the second offering up to 28mph on city-centre roads and the final setting up to 37mph on multi-lane roads and outside urban areas.
However, insurance plates and a corresponding licence are required for the higher speed settings.
Users will also need to constantly pedal in order to benefit from the assistance of the electric drive system.
BMW chairman Oliver Zipse said the iVision Circular presents BMW's 'all-encompassing, meticulous way of thinking when it comes to sustainable mobility' and symbolises its ambition to develop cars for a 'circular economy'. It unveiled five new concept vehicles in Munich on Monday, including an e-bike with a top speed of 37mph
BMW cars will talk to each other to cut emissions
Sensors can make use of the real-time and long-term traffic data – shared between vehicles - to maximise efficiency when planning routes.
This could also help cars plan their speeds to ensure they reach traffic lights just as they turn to green, and are not held up on red – creating a 'green wave' of traffic flow.
BMW said: 'Congestion would be minimised as a result of vehicles communicating with each other and with their environment.
'CO2 emissions caused by stop-start traffic or even searching for a parking spot would be reduced significantly across a large number of users.'
The company said: 'The BMW Group's overriding aim is to reduce CO2 emissions throughout a vehicle's entire life cycle. Besides electrifying the product portfolio and switching to renewable energy for manufacturing, the company is focusing particularly on circular economy principles and the use of secondary materials.
'BMW seeks to be a pioneering force in the development of a circular economy and also extend its leading status for resource efficiency in production to all stages of the vehicle life cycle.'
BMW stressed that the iVision Circular is separate from the next generation flexible platform on which its electric and fossil fuel vehicles of the immediate future will be built, but many of the 'green' elements will be included.
BMW chairman Oliver Zipse said: 'The BMW iVision Circular illustrates our all-encompassing, meticulous way of thinking when it comes to sustainable mobility. It symbolises our ambition to be a pioneering force in the development of a circular economy.'
He added: 'We lead the way for resource efficiency in production and we are seeking to extend this status to all stages of the vehicle life cycle. This is a question of economic sustainability too, as the current trend in commodity prices clearly shows the financial consequences in store for any industry that is reliant on finite resources.'