BMW Group’s MINI recently put out a press release totaling nearly 3,500 words for an electric vehicle concept that will never be built. It is a super cool looking electric crossover (probably the only real reason I’m writing this piece), but the immediately frustrating thing about it is that it’s futuristic design will never come to fruition. That’s the point with a concept vehicle — it’s designed to look amazingly futuristic and cool, even if that means making it unrealistic — and it always does.
If the idea is to drum up excitement about MINI and its electric future, I find this strategy only very mildly effective. How does it inspire consumers to spend so much time and money on a vehicle idea that will never come to life? Such a game turns me off to an automaker. If the aim is to test consumer interest in certain features or the general idea of an electric model in that class, well, why not be realistic and see what people really think of a real production vehicle concept?
Also, frankly, I find it hilarious, crazy, and absurd that so much writing and editing is spent on a summary of the vehicle that will never be built. If you want to read the flowery and enthralling 3,000+ description, here’s the press release. I’ll just include a few choice snippets interspersed by pictures of the stunning, cool, imaginary electric crossover:
“The MINI Concept Aceman provides an initial glimpse of a completely new vehicle, bridging the space between the MINI Cooper and the MINI Countryman in the model family’s future,” says Stefanie Wurst, Head of the MINI Brand. “This concept car reflects how MINI is reinventing itself for its all-electric future and what the brand stands for: an electrified go-kart feel, an immersive digital experience and a strong focus on a minimal environmental footprint.”
“The design language of the MINI Concept Aceman heralds the beginning of a new design era for MINI,” explains Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design. Design features typical of the MINI brand have always been unmistakable, Hooydonk goes on to say. “We are returning to these now, but at the same time consistently combining them innovative technology.”
“With this approach we are redeveloping the MINI design icons, with all their analogue strengths, for the digital future.
“Along with the clear and reduced exterior and interior design, the holistic user experience of light, movement, interaction and sound also combine to define this style. Surfaces constructed from knitted recycled textile with fresh color contrasts combine with seamless digital controls with a new OLED display as the central interface. This all creates a unique interior experience that remains unmistakably MINI. The all-electric models of the next generation are also given an independent sound design for the first time, providing emotionally compelling drive sounds and an authentic background for the new experience modes.”
“A diagonal contour below the A-pillars sparks memories of the striking weld seam of the classic MINI. Surface modeling and lines create an exciting tapered effect between the front and rear wheel arches that give a dynamic expression to the side view of the MINI Concept Aceman. This intensively accentuates the powerful profile of the rear wheel arches. These are further defined by distinctive contour lines, the first of their kind on a MINI. Contour lines provide a lively play of light and shadow in the side view; a dynamic upward movement in the front area, an elongated progression and a steep downward swing. A matt green side skirt, more pronounced in the area of the doors, gives the vehicle an athletic appearance.”
“The concept car’s cockpit is consistently reduced to the bare essentials, just as the designer of the classic MINI had in mind in 1959. Alec Issigonis designed an interior which, in addition to the seats, steering wheel and gear lever, needed nothing more than a central round instrument and toggle switch bar to experience unrivalled driving pleasure.”
“The dashboard is a flat design element styled like a sound bar that extends across the entire width of the interior in front of the driver’s and front passenger’s seats. Its soft knitted textile surfaces create a modern and homey atmosphere in the MINI Concept Aceman interior. The dashboard is connected via a support structure which, like the roof rack, displays the Union Jack pattern, re-emphasizing the harmony between exterior and interior design.”
The exterior light show includes the display of the MINI Companion as a sensor-based animation. As soon as someone approaches the MINI Concept Aceman, they are tracked by a cloud of light in the front of the vehicle that gets brighter as they get closer. At the same time, an interactive sound emanates from the exterior loudspeakers, the intensity linked to the distance between the vehicle and the user. When the vehicle is unlocked, the matrix LED units on the grille surface display a Union Jack graphic. At the same time, the surround of the grille element lights up and the LED matrix of the right headlamp gives a friendly wink. The light animation is accompanied by an unmistakable sound sequence. It consists of four tones, each representing a letter in the MINI brand name. This sequence is called an earcon, which serves as a fixed symbol for certain events or information, in the same way that a visual icon does.”
What do you say? First of all, do you like the MINI Concept Aceman? Do automakers really have to spend so much time on unrealistic concept vehicles?
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