BMW: The Color-Changing Car
BMW’s new “i Vision Dee” concept car is covered in futuristic panels that can change color on demand. The idea is that the color of your car could change based on your mood or the weather—even if you don’t want your car to be blue when it’s raining.
BMW describes its new car, the Dee, as “the world’s first color-changing car.” The Dee, which stands for “Digital Emotional Experience,” cycles between 32 different colors, company representatives announced at a press conference on Thursday at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The car’s exterior boasts 32 solid colors, with mix-and-match capabilities due to its 240 different panels. This is a significant leap forward from the earlier BMW model showcased last year, which could only alternate between black, white, and gray.
The technology behind Dee’s color-changing capabilities is likely years away from consumer availability, The Verge noted Thursday. Exposure to the elements in day-to-day driving—from car washes to flying insects—keeps the high-tech panels from performing in the real world.
BMW’s new car is meant as a glimpse of what could eventually be a much more colorful future. The company says that “this allows an almost infinite variety of patterns to be generated and varied within seconds.”
Dee’s outer skin is made of electronic paper made by a startup called E Ink, which also makes displays for e-readers and mobile phones. Its colorful coating is made of millions of tiny microcapsules, which change color when electricity is applied.
E Ink, which is owned by Chinese tech giant Foxconn, says it’s developed an “ultra-low power” electronic coating that will allow your car to change colors without draining the battery. The company is also promising that its panels can be manufactured in any shape imaginable — which could lead to e-reader screens that mimic the look of actual paper or more energy-efficient digital signs and smartwatch displays.
BMW hasn’t revealed specifications for Dee’s engine or battery, but the concept car is loaded with futuristic hardware and software that will be available in production cars by 2025. That includes BMW’s Head-Up display, which spans the width of the windshield and allows drivers to see various information like speed and battery range.
It also features a touchscreen called the Mixed Reality Slider; this allows you to control how much digital content is displayed on your dashboard, from driving speed to music controls to text messages.
BMW’s next line of cars, set to debut in two years, will feature both a color-changing paint job and self-healing bodywork. But don’t expect to see the color-changing tech in your garage anytime soon. Eventually, BMW hopes to develop a spray coating that would help the color-changing panels stand up to the elements.