BMW Group’s MINI brand to sponsor CU-ICAR’s Deep Orange 7 concept vehicle
GREENVILLE — The seventh generation of the innovative Deep Orange program, a vehicle prototype designed and conceived by automotive engineering students in the department of automotive engineering at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR), will be powered by the BMW Group.
The BMW Group, whose global headquarters are in Munich, Germany, will sponsor Deep Orange 7. The sponsorship comes shortly after BMW’s confirmation of the relationship to Clemson University as a member of BMW Group’s network of prestigious global university partners. Clemson University has been as a strategic partner to BMW since 2008, initially focused mostly on the BMW Manufacturing plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
For the seventh iteration of Deep Orange, the goal is to develop a blank-sheet fully functional vehicle concept for the MINI brand targeting the U.S. market with the BMW Group in Munich as the primary sponsor. The objective is to create a revolutionary MINI technology demonstrator facing the potential requirements to come within the next decade as part of a collaborative real-world educational experience (Deep Orange 7). The project outcome will provide a unique U.S.-centric view on what could be next for MINI.
As part of the graduate automotive engineering program at CU-ICAR, students are required to create and manufacture a new vehicle prototype. The project showcases advanced technology and provides students an opportunity to work directly with automotive industry partners to develop ideas.
Dr. Ludwig Sporer, vice president of New Technologies and Innovations of the BMW Group, said, “We are looking forward to building on our partnership with Clemson University through this project. Having a team of talented graduate students giving an outside-in view on future MINI products, with the U.S. market in mind, is a valuable asset to the BMW Group.”
Deep Orange runs the course of two academic years in parallel with Clemson’s two-year master’s program in automotive engineering. The program provides students with experience in financial and market analysis, vehicle design, development, prototyping and production-planning.
CU-ICAR’s innovative vehicle prototype program allows students free reign to push the boundaries of conventional design and engineering.
Paul Venhovens, BMW Endowed Chair in Automotive Systems Integration at CU-ICAR, who leads the Deep Orange program, said this generation will be extremely rewarding for the students and faculty due to the objectives of the project and the fact that MINI is such an iconic brand with a rich heritage.
“The students’ task is to develop a vehicle that not only builds off the hugely successful MINI brand, but also addresses important issues, such as creating a new level of desirability and relevance among the next generations of U.S. MINI buyers, including working out concepts to achieve future fuel economy and safety standards in a very small vehicle footprint.”
CU-ICAR will again partner with the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, to create the vehicle’s external look and feel. The California design school last worked on the program for the Toyota-sponsored Deep Orange 6 vehicle.
Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research
The Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) is a 250-acre advanced-technology research campus where university, industry and government organizations collaborate. CU-ICAR offers master’s and Ph.D. programs in automotive engineering and is conducting leading-edge applied research in critical areas, such as advanced product-development strategies, sustainable mobility, intelligent manufacturing systems and advanced materials. CU-ICAR has industrial-scale laboratories and testing equipment in world-class facilities available for commercial use.
BMW Group in America
BMW of North America LLC has been present in the United States since 1975. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003. The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand and the Rolls-Royce brand of Motor Cars; DesignworksUSA, a strategic-design consultancy in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley; and various other operations throughout the country. BMW Manufacturing Co. LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group’s global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all X5 and X3 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 and X4 Sports Activity Coupes. The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 339 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 140 BMW motorcycle retailers, 121 MINI passenger car dealers and 35 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers. BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group’s sales headquarters for North America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.