MINI Strip car uses 3D printing and recycled materials

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With a focus on the future of sustainability in automotive design, the MINI Strip is a one-off car that resulted from a collaboration between two British brands. MINI and Paul Smith custom-made the vehicle, which premiered to the world in London in August 2021.

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The MINI Strip stands as a driving force behind innovations in sustainable auto manufacturing. The name comes from the starting point, which was a stripped-down Mini Cooper SE. From there, the entire design focuses on the theme of ‘Simplicity, Transparency, Sustainability,’ so only the final product only included the most essential components.

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An overhead shot of a person standing next to a silver and black car on a blue platform.

The automotive background from MINI was an obvious contribution, but the team is quick to acknowledge the advantage of Smith’s outside-the-industry perspective, with Oliver Heilmer, head of MINI Design, saying, “Paul asked essential questions right at the start of the design process with his non-automotive and therefore fresh perspective. We are proud to have developed such a strong character statement together.“ 

A person standing next to a silver and black car on a blue platform.

Smith agreed, saying, “I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to rethink the iconic MINI. I know and love the existing car, but by respecting the past and looking to the future we have created something very special…Together I think we have created something truly unique, by going back to basics, reducing things down and stripping the car.”

A person standing next to a silver and black car on a blue platform.

The car now represents a minimalist mindset, where less is more. This is seen in the raw exterior finish, where factory grinding marks were left to highlight that point. A thin film of clear paint protects the surface, but the exterior is otherwise unfinished. Visible screws incorporated into the design spotlight ease of maintenance and the ability of the car to be dismantled and the panels recycled at the end of useful life. The steering wheel is wrapped in handlebar tape, and the open spaces expose the airbags. The doors are covered in the same meshing as the airbags, showcasing the inner workings.

A person sitting in a silver and black car with the door open.

The team chose to 3D-print sections of the car using recycled plastic. Recycled Perspex was used for the grille trim, roof and wheel covers for a lightweight and eco-friendly solution.

A person sitting in a silver and black car with the door open.

The interior of the car is more minimalist still, with stripped-down trim and little more in the way of controls than a space for a smartphone, switches for the power windows, and a start/stop control button.

A person touching the hood of a silver and black car on a blue platform.

Material selection inside the car avoided leather and chrome in favor of seats upholstered in knitted fabric and floor mats made from recycled rubber. Recycled cork adds texture and visual interest to the dashboard topper pad, door shoulders and parcel shelf. Material selections are mostly recyclable and serve as an example as a substitute for foamed plastics.

+ BMW Group

Via Automotive World

Images via BMW Group 

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