Meet the Mini Strip.
Mini isn't shy when it comes to trying new things. The automaker is especially in its element when it comes to experimenting with design, as vehicles like the Urbanaut Concept show. We see evidence of this in a new multitone roof that the company offers too, but that's not the only time that a crazy concept from the British automaker has made it to production. The latest design study from Mini is more restrained but no less radical, as it's a regular Mini Cooper Electric that has been stripped down to its structure and redesigned and rebuilt with sustainability as its focus. This is the Mini STRIP.
The theme of this car is 'Simplicity, Transparency, Sustainability', and it's a one-off model codesigned by Mini and designer Paul Smith, who says, "Together, I think we have created something truly unique, by going back to basics, reducing things down and stripping the car."
It certainly is unique, as the body was left in its unfinished state with only a thin film of transparent lacquer applied to protect against corrosion. Thus, you can still see grinding marks and other imperfections that would otherwise be invisible on the car. This intentionally rough finish has been dubbed "the perfect imperfection" by Paul.
Various parts of the car have been 3D-printed from recycled plastic, including the unique front and rear apron inserts. The grille trim and aero covers for the wheels are made from recycled Perspex and so is the panoramic roof. Inside, "Paul Smith stripes" in five colors grab your attention, while smaller details like engraved drawing of an electric plug on the charging flap will take longer to soak in. With the exception of the dashboard, topper pad, and parcel shelf, most trim parts have been left out of the cabin. Even these parts are not "normal", so to speak.
The dash is now one large, semi-transparent panel with a smoked-glass finish and no screens. Instead, the driver's smartphone goes in the center of the dash and connects automatically to become the media system for the car, while the top of the dash, door shoulders, and parcel shelf are made from recycled cork, which could well serve as a substitute for foamed plastics in future. The only physical controls in the cabin are in the center stack, where you'll find little more than switches for the windows and the start-stop button. The whole car is free of leather and chrome, and the seats are made from a knitted fabric that can be recycled. The floor mats are made from recycled rubber.
Stripping the whole car down and refinishing it with sustainable materials is a great concept, and knowing Mini, this sort of thing could very well make it to production some day as BMW has already done something similar with the interior of the i3. We hope it does.