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Last updateSun, 15 Oct 2017 11am
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BMW employs 3D printing for MINI Electric Concept car

BMW seeks to bring the iconic design, city-dwelling heritage and customary go-kart feeling of the MINI brand into the electric mobility age. The MINI Electric Concept, unveiled at the IAA Cars 2017 show in Frankfurt, Germany, is marketed as a zero-emission solution to the current challenges facing personal mobility in cities and their surroundings.

A hexagonal radiator grille and circular headlights make the MINI Electric Concept instantly recognizable when viewed from the front. The radiator grille and headlights have been reinterpreted to reflect the emission-free drive technology under the bonnet. The radiator grille is closed for superior aerodynamics. The front apron’s simulated “air intakes” are sealed, but they still include dark louvres that look like cooling fins and inject some added technical flair. The rear apron features aerodynamic elements similar to those at the front, including air deflectors and a fibreglass diffuser.

The design of the dark-colored 19-inch wheels picks up on the idea of the radiator grille’s accent bar and reinterprets it in asymmetrical form. The aerodynamic inlays – made using a 3D printing process – echo the fibreglass structure of the air deflectors and inject the wheels with great aesthetic appeal. The recessed louvred surfaces in the simulated air intakes were also produced using a 3D printing method. These two elements emphasize the light and modern character of the MINI Electric Concept, while at the same time illustrating the opportunities offered by 3D printing in terms of producing functional design elements for vehicle styling and customization.
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