Is This for Real?

BMW Mini Electric Urbanaut

BMW Mini Electric Urbanaut

United States Will Lead the Push into EVs


Biden ran on a proposed $2 trillion initiative promoting a clean-energy transition and creating green jobs. He seeks to decarbonize the power sector by 2035 and reach net-zero emissions across the entire economy by 2050. Cutting fossil-fuel subsidies and boosting the switchover to electric vehicles are part of the plan.

Is This the Future?

BMW Group’s Mini has unveiled an electric Mini Vision Urbanaut, a concept “retreat” living room on wheels.

The futuristic concept vehicle’s interior layout can transform depending on “Mini moment” selected.

When the car is parked, the dashboard can turn into a daybed, to name just one of the lounging-related aspects included inside the concept electric vehicle.

BMW Mini Electric Urbanaut Inside

The concept electric vehicle is filled with futuristic and fantastical elements, from changing interior layouts to a front dashboard that can transform into a daybed when the car is parked.

However, lounging spaces don’t stop at just the daybed: the vehicle’s entire interior is reminiscent of a bright living room with set floor plans, furniture, and even a plant. There’s also room to sit on the floor when the single sliding door is open.

According to BMW, the concept vehicle was “designed from the inside out.”

BMW Mini Electric Urbanaut Front

The vehicle is taller than a typical Mini but sits at 4.45 meters (14.6 feet) long.

Augmented reality systems were used to create the digital version of the Vision Urbanaut, according to its maker.

BMW Mini Electric Urbanaut Door

The single entry sliding doorway sits on one side of the vehicle, removing the need for any additional doors.

The car can be opened using smartphones, and points of interests are customised for the passengers.

Inside, the interior has four seats. The two in the front can be rotated to face the interior, and the rear backrests can be folded or turned.

The electric concept vehicle uses sustainable and recycled materials, a trend that other electric automakers like Fisker have taken part in as well. This includes the use of cork in the steering wheel and parts of the floor.

BMW Mini Electric Urbanaut Interior

The table that the plant sits on is the “centre point” for social interactions inside the vehicle. Near the table is a multi-purpose display that also doubles as a table lamp when it’s folded.

When the car is parked, the windshield can open up and the dashboard can become a daybed seating nook.

In order to create a more minimalist space, its maker didn’t include any switches or buttons!

BMW Mini Electric Urbanaut Moment

The Vision Urbanaut integrates three “Mini moments” uses: chill, wanderlust, and vibe.

These three Mini Moments — as well as any personalised “moments” — are used in the “Mini Token” and its system.

When a “moment” is activated after a token is put into its slot at the table, aspects of the car — such as lighting, music, and smells — will change according to the selected “moment.”

“Chill” is integrated into the vehicle by making it a “retreat” space for relaxation and work.

The rear part of the Vision Urbanaut is the “Cosy Corner,” which has features like LED back lights and a dimmable “loop” that looks like a forest canopy when the car is activated in its “chill” mode, according to its maker.

“Wanderlust” is showcased with the Vision Urbanaut’s movement, either when it’s driven by people or by its automated drive capabilities. If the passengers prefer automated driving, the steering wheel, pedals, and drive display will vanish.

When the car is in “wanderlust” mode, the interior layout alters to be driving friendly, and the circular display changes to show tourist posters from the mid-1900s, as well as route and driving information.

In “vibe” mode, the side door and windshield open for an indoor-outdoor feel, and the circular display becomes a “media control centre” for music.

Even the exterior receives a makeover per “moment”: the colour of the wheels and head and rear lights can change according to the “moment” that the occupants have selected.

Never Gonna Happen?

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Phil Lancaster

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