Tuesday, June 10, 2008
BMW Builds a Cloth Car
They say beauty is only skin deep. Tell that to GINA.
Instead of a metal or plastic body, BMW's latest concept, the GINA Light Visionary Model, drapes a flexible fabric material over a moveable wire mesh frame, creating a nearly seamless surface that can alter its form at the whim of the driver.
•Click here for video of GINA in action from BMW.
If you're feeling frisky, you can raise the tail like an angry dog, bulge the fenders as if you've injected them with steroids and reshape the sides of the car to transform it from a sleek roadster into an intimidating racer.
No need to lift the hood to get a look at the engine — it opens from the center like Hulk Hogan tearing off his T-shirt. Even the seats and the dashboard can be customized under their smooth surfaces to fit the desires of the occupants.
Of course BMW claims there are practical aspects to the design as well. The polyurethane-coated Lycra is significantly lighter than more rigid materials traditionally used for an automobile body, requiring less energy to produce it while reducing the overall weight of the car and making it more fuel-efficient.
All of the moveable parts are attached to a solid space frame platform that provides all of the safety found in a traditional design.
GINA won't be coming to showrooms anytime soon, but BMW hopes the overall design philosophy will rub off on some of its future models.
In the meantime, you can see GINA in the flesh at the BMW museum in Munich, Germany.