What if the color of your car could change based on your mood or the weather?
That’s the idea – or at least one of the ideas – behind BMW’s new “i Vision Dee” concept car, a mid-size electric sports sedan covered in futuristic panels that can change color on demand.
BMW describes it as the world’s first “colour-changing” car. The Dee, which stands for “Digital Emotional Experience,”[ads1]; can cycle between 32 different colors, the company said in a press release Thursday, unveiling the car at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The car can cycle between 32 different solid exterior colors, with mix-and-match possibilities due to its 240 different panel segments. It’s a significant leap over BMW’s previous iteration shown off last year, which could only switch between black, white and grey.
As with any concept vehicle, the technology behind the Dee’s color-changing abilities is likely years away from consumer availability. Exposure to the elements of daily driving — from car washes to flying insects — prevents high-tech panels from performing in the real world, The Verge noted Thursday.
For BMW, the car is intended as a glimpse of what may eventually become a much more colorful future. “This allows an almost infinite variety of patterns to be generated and varied within seconds,” the company said in its press release, which described the light show as a “magical display of color.”
The Dee’s outer skin is a film made of electronic paper built by a startup called E Ink, which also makes display technology for e-readers and mobile phones. The coating segments contain millions of tiny microcapsules with different color pigments that change shades when electricity is applied.
The electronic coating is “ultra-low power,” so changing the car’s colors won’t drain the electric vehicle’s battery, E Ink said in its own press release Thursday.
E Ink also said it is capable of producing its panels in any shape imaginable – potentially leading to applications such as e-reader displays that mimic the look of actual paper or more energy-efficient digital signage and smartwatch displays.
BMW hasn’t released specifications for the Dee’s engine or battery, but says the concept car is additionally loaded with futuristic hardware and software that will be available in cars on the road by 2025.
It includes BMW’s Head-Up Display, a digital dashboard that spans the entire width of the windscreen. It also has a Mixed Reality Slider, a touchscreen that lets you control how much digital content is displayed on that dashboard, from driving speed and battery range to music controls and text messages.