Chris (Chung Kyo) Lee’s thesis for the Art Center Transportation Design course was not just one single concept, but a range of vehicles for the BMW i sub-brand.
“I tried to envision how the new brand could evolve in the future,” Lee says of his five concept cars. “The first three vehicles, the i6, i7 and the i2 are more short term approach, introducing new vehicles to the portfolio within a 10-20 year period. They primarily focus on brand image development as well as introducing new innovations. The iQ and iS are a long term approach and can be seen as a ‘visionary concept’ that could shape the brand in the future.”
BMW i6 – 2022
Lee contends that the i6 — the third vehicle to join the lineup after the i3 and i8 – would be a mid-size vehicle to launch in 2022. It would strengthen the brand’s design values as well as evolve the design language. “The most apparent design feature is the use of the ‘black belt’ in a more functional way,” Lee says.
BMW i7 – 2027
Five years later, the arrival of the flagship i7 would be the first fully autonomous vehicle in the lineup. “The emphasis was put to the interior to see what new opportunities could be created by having autonomous driving,” says Lee. As such, the car is used as a serene mobile lounge, in which Lee chose to provide a technologically-laden yet organic interior space.
BMW i2 – 2032
The most compact sports vehicle from the lineup, the i2 would have a driving experience all its own. The blackbelt now runs completely over and underneath the car creating a transparent floor, allowing the driver and passenger to see the racing lines pass under the vehicle enhancing the sense of speed as well as imparting a floating or flying sensation, almost as if flying a fighter jet.
BMW iQ – 2048
At the crux of the project is the iQ — Q standing for Quantum technology. Revolving around the idea of subscription-based vehicle ownership, Lee physically separated BMW i’s ‘Life Drive’ concept into two components: the ‘Drive’ technology, which is shared, and the ‘Life’ cabin, which is more user-specific.
This subscription-based ownership model could preview how the BMW i brand would maintain its leadership role but it also has several benefits. By sharing the ‘Drive’ technology platform, the platform could be in use 90% of the time, reducing the number of parked cars on the street. The ‘Life’ cabins would be vertically stacked to eliminate large parking structures.
As the vehicle also employs quantum levitation technology, the iQ can be driven on existing infrastructure such as the magnetic rails powering Maglev trains.
BMW iS – 2236
Keen readers will recognize this vehicle as one of the entrants to the 2013 LA Design Challenge. That’s because it is. The iS was designed for the way out future, imagining what mobility would be like in environments such as space or hazardous places. The design theme is an evolution of the iQ and retains the separation of the ‘Life’ cockpit and ‘Drive’ train.
“Environments such as space or mountainous terrain require more versatile mobility,” says Lee. “The iS is equipped not with conventional wheels but more of a mobility ‘arm’, which was greatly inspired by nature and how seeds use stored energy for dispersion.”
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