Could this really reach production?
Back in 2008, BMW unveiled a concept vehicle unlike anything seen before called the GINA, or Geometry and Functions in "N" Adaptions. The GINA Light Visionary Model, pictured below, may at first look like a regular roadster concept but was radically different it had a highly durable and extremely expansion-resistant fabric material stretched across a metal body structure instead of traditional metal alloy or carbon fiber constructed doors, hood, roof, trunk lid, and rear deck.
This fabric allowed the vehicle to have a flexible skin, enabling significant new design possibilities. Suddenly, nothing seemed off-limits, but BMW has, so far, not proceeded with production plans. This could soon change.
According to a recent World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) patent filing uncovered on a BMW i4 forum, the German automaker is working on new technology that will allow the hood of a vehicle to change shape. Specifically, this shape-shifting ability will enable the hood to change from being flat to having an indent or a bulge. The filing was not made for any specific vehicle, present or upcoming.
The images included with the patent also seem to indicate the hood could change shape in different aerodynamic-related situations like if speed has increased the hood could alter its shape accordingly.
There's no guarantee this technology will make production, but the patent filing proves BMW has made significant progress. If production is planned, then we'd expect to see used first in motorsport and/or other track-focused models. Unfortunately, the patent does not provide details in this regard, so we can only speculate at this time. Any potential production or motorsport vehicle, however, is not expected to have the GINA concept's fabric skin covering the entire body, and probably not even the hood.
This so-called "skin" doesn't sound like it'd meet safety requirements but the knowledge gained from 2008's concept could have been developed further for use in, say, carbon fiber. But whatever BMW has in mind it has definitely piqued our interest.