Americans especially can get stuck in a bigger-is-better mentality—and services like Uber Black, which tends to equate larger vehicles with greater luxury, don’t help in any green gains claimed by such services. Seemingly in reaction to this, BMW is using this week’s CES 2020 in Las Vegas to make the point that compact and ecologically sound cars can still be luxurious—and that a more luxurious ride-hailing future could come in a package the size of the BMW i3 compact electric car.
With the i3 Urban Suite, BMW left the driver’s seat and dashboard but transformed everything else in the car, to give it “the relaxed feel of a boutique hotel.” Changes and aesthetic twists were aimed toward making the i3 “the perfect place for relaxing, enjoying in-car entertainment or focusing on work in a laid-back setting.”
BMW says that it’s used recycled materials for the upholstery, certified wood, and olive-tanned leather, and “circular economy” floor mats that are made of recyclable materials yet designed to be recycled at the end of their use.
BMW i3 Urban Suite concept - CES 2020
The image BMW released of the interior tells a little more—and indicates that it’s a brighter, more fashionable take on the back seats you might find in Bentley or Rolls-Royce based limos (or something like what Faraday Future has attempted with its FF91). With a lounge chair and footrest, plus a small desk space, it looks like a place to relax as well as to work.
Few other technical details have been provided about these rolling concepts, although in an interesting twist to the i3’s uncertain future, BMW says that much more about the i3 Urban Suite will be provided at the show. Or if you’re at CES you might potentially find a ride in one; BMW says that it converted a fleet of i3s—exact number not disclosed—to Urban Suites and brought them to Las Vegas for CES, where they can be ordered via an event app.