BMW has recently broken new ground in the automotive industry with the announcement of ‘Dee’, the world’s first car capable of transforming its exterior color while in motion. This striking innovation, essentially digitizing the traditional process of painting a car, promises to revolutionize how we perceive vehicular aesthetics.
Dee was unveiled on the heels of BMW’s previous venture into color-altering technology—the iX Flow. Introduced at the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the iX Flow heralded itself as the “world’s first color-changing car,” albeit with a more limited palette, shifting only between black and white. This groundbreaking feature was the culmination of months of collaboration between BMW and E Ink, with the implementation of ePaper and Electrophoretic tech propelling the creation forward.
Fast forward to the 2023 CES, where BMW unveiled a sophisticated iteration of this technology with the i Vision Dee. The Dee—short for “Digital Emotional Experience”—is a concept car that outperforms its predecessor in visual dynamism, boasting an impressive ability to display 32 different colors.
So how does this sorcery on wheels work?
In essence, the technology relies on a thin wrap, adhered to the car’s surface, filled with millions of micro-pockets of particles. When electrically charged, these particles alter their color. By modulating this electric input, BMW can orchestrate an impressive symphony of color changes across the vehicle’s exterior.
The visionary behind this inventive approach is Stella Clarke, who, while disassembling her Kindle e-reader one day, realized the potential of incorporating e-ink technology into automobiles. As to when we might see this technology gracing showroom floors, Clarke remained coy, hinting only that two years might be too soon, but ten years too far.
While the color-changing feature is undeniably eye-catching and futuristic, it brings its own challenges, such as the potential distraction it could cause on roads. BMW is hopeful that this hurdle will be surmounted, ensuring this advancement can be safely incorporated into future vehicles.
The i Vision Dee is a symbol of BMW’s vision of future digital experiences in automotive design. Its mission—reflected in its name— is to forge stronger connections between people and their cars. The incorporation of digital functions, extending far beyond today’s voice control and driver assistance systems, provides an immersive experience for drivers.
The BMW Head-Up-Display spans the entire width of the windscreen, giving a peek into what vehicle generations might look like from 2025 onwards. In addition to the color-changing innovation, BMW has unveiled plans to incorporate this feature into its upcoming NEUE KLASSE models.
Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, speaks of the i Vision Dee as a showcase of the potential when hardware and software intertwine. “In this way, we are able to exploit the full potential of digitalization to transform the car into an intelligent companion. That is the future for automotive manufacturers,” said Zipse.
Indeed, the BMW i Vision Dee— with its near-human capabilities—seeks to accompany drivers not only on the roads but also in their digital life, marking a significant step towards the seamless integration of virtual and physical experiences.
This unprecedented approach, according to Frank Weber, a member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, speaks volumes about the future of the automotive industry. He believes that mastering the art of integrating everyday digital experiences into the vehicle at all levels is key to shaping the future of car-building.
With these impressive advancements, BMW continues to redefine the boundaries of automotive design, driving us into an exciting and dynamic future where technology, design, and the human experience are harmoniously fused.
Roger Scoble blogs about the latest gadgets, travel and luxury news. A graduate of UCLA, Roger loves to travel, drive luxe autos and have amazing adventures.