BMW’s first ‘colour-changing’ concept car is here – and the technology can be used in everything from e-readers to smartwatches


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 midsize electric sports sedan covered in futuristic panels that can change color on demand.

BMW describes it as the world’s first “color-changing” car. The Dee, which stands for “Digital Emotional Experience,” can cycle between 32 different colors, the company said in a press release Thursday, as the car was unveiled at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The car can cycle between 32 different solid body colors, with mix-and-match possibilities thanks to the 240 different panel segments. That’s a significant leap over BMW’s earlier iteration shown last year, which could only switch between black, white and grey.

As with any concept vehicle, the technology behind the Dee’s color-changing capabilities is likely years away from consumer availability. Exposure to the elements during everyday driving — from car washes to flying insects — causes the high-tech panels to fail in the real world, The Verge noted Thursday.

A photo composite shows some of the possible color combinations of the color-changing BMW i Vision Dee concept car.

Source: BMW

For BMW, the car is meant to be a glimpse into what could ultimately be a much more colorful future. “This allows an almost infinite variety of patterns to be generated and varied in seconds,” the company said in its press release, describing 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 containing different color pigments that change color when electricity is applied.

The electronic coating is “ultra-low power,” so changing the car’s colors won’t drain the electric car’s battery, E Ink said in its own press release Thursday.

E Ink also said it can manufacture its panels in any shape imaginable – potentially leading to applications such as e-reader screens that mimic the look of real paper or more energy-efficient digital signs and smartwatch displays.

BMW hasn’t released specs 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.

That includes BMW’s Head-Up display, a digital dashboard that spans the full width of the windshield. It also features 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.

The interior of BMW’s i Vision Dee concept car.

Source: BMW

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