A chameleon has nothing on the BMW i Vision Dee, an electric sports sedan concept ready for the future
Imagine a future where you’d have a car to match every outfit—without owning multiple vehicles. If all goes well for the BMW R&D team, that future may be closer than we think.
The German carmaker recently unveiled the i Vision Dee (digital emotional experience), an electric sports sedan concept that comes with a whole slew of futuristic technology. But among the AI-powered virtual assistant that talks back, the face-like grill that “changes expressions”, and the function that allows you to project a driver avatar profile onto the side window, it was an innovation for a fundamental customisation feature that grabbed headlines: changeable car colours.
If the concept ever goes into production, you’d be able to buy a purple i Vision Dee one day and drive out of your garage in an orange car the next. You may even clad the BMW in all 32 colours available simultaneously, if you feel so inclined.
The i Vision Dee isn’t BMW’s first attempt at a colour-changing concept car. Its predecessor, the iX Flow, unveiled last year, and could shift between white, black and grey. The i Vision Dee simply offers more colour options.
The secret behind both cars’ chameleon-like abilities is E Ink, the same e-paper technology used in e-readers like the Kindle. 240 of these e-paper segments cover the body of the i Vision Dee, every one of which can be controlled individually. Couple that with a choice of 32 colours, and the patterns and designs that could be generated becomes almost infinite.
E Ink technology has already made crossovers from e-readers into cell phones, medical wearables, and digital signage, but BMW lays claim to being the first to adapt the tech for vehicle exteriors.
Since the colour changing feature is based on technology that’s already available, the i Vision Dee could theoretically go into production very soon. But not until it fixes the one problem that currently has the R&D team stumped: the delicate nature of e-paper. Believe it or not, no way is it equipped for the great outdoors with flying debris, rain and all that.
Robb Tip: Discover the virtual BMW world here