A car that changes colors could help improve fuel efficiency and reduce battery strain on EVs, BMW says about its new technology.
Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw once compared cars in Los Angeles to handbags in New York City. Little did she know that you could one day match your car to your outfit with the push of a button. That’s the technology BMW introduced at the CES show in Las Vegas last week with the iX Flow electric concept SUV. The grey-scale colored truck changes from grey to black to white in an industry first.
“This gives the driver the driver the ability to express different facets of their personality or even their enjoyment of change outwardly, and to redefine this each time they sit in their car,” Stella Clarke, project leader for the iX Flow, said in a statement.
The BMW iX
But there’s more than just driver mood in mind here. The technology could help to improve fuel efficiency by turning white on hot days to reduce the need for air conditioning, BMW says. Turning the car black would absorb more heat, reducing the need to spend energy to heat the cabin on cooler days. The tech could help with all-electric cars, too, decreasing battery use to extend distance instead.
“In an all-electric car, changing the color in line with the weather can therefore also help to increase the range,” BMW claims.
The German automaker doesn’t use paint to achieve the color-changing effect. That’s done by way of a specially formed wrapping over the body panels. It contains an electronic ink technology found in e-readers.
The color-changing panels contain millions of tiny capsules that are either negatively charged white pigments or positively charged black pigments. Through electric currents, the panels bring one set of pigments to the surface. The technology allows the driver to change all or part of the car’s color, including the wheels.
“Digital experiences won’t just be limited to displays in the future,” said Frank Weber, member of the board of management, BMW AG, said in a statement. There will be more and more melding of the real and virtual. With the MBW iX Flow, we are bringing the car body to life.”
BMW launches luxury infotainment
Seperately, BMW also announced a theater-like component including a backseat screen and an infotainment system includes Amazon Fire TV coming to future luxury class models.
“We develop immersive, digital experiences for sheer driving pleasure,” Weber said. “In Theatre Mode, the rear of the interior is transformed into a private cinema lounge. With the 31 inch display, 5G connectivity, 8K resolution, surround sound and individual streaming program, an unprecedented experience is created that sets new standards for in-car entertainment.”
BMW partnered with renowned composer Hans Zimmer to develop a new audio experience with Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System. BMW isn’t the only luxury car company to prioritize new and improved audio experiences. Last year Bentley announced a program coming to its first EV that turns the car’s movement into unique music compositions.
In the forthcoming BMWs with the My Mode Theatre function, roller sunblinds on side and rear windows will automatically close and ambient lighting will dim to enhance the experience.
The ultra-wide panorama display screen stretches 31 inches, reaching over nearly all of the backseat interior. A zoom function allows programs to be played at 16:9 and 21:9 aspect ratios. It can zoom as deep as 32:9 with exceptionally high resolution.
The new year kicked off with a Mercedes-Benz concept, the EQXX. It incorporates solar power along with smaller batteries to achieve a 600-plus-mile-range per charge.