While everyone attempts to wrap their head around the brutal-looking front end on the new BMW iX, the brand continues to develop the platform with integrated user experiences that extend far beyond the traditional driver’s displays and infotainment screens. Their latest creation is a little head-scratching, because while a cool thing on the surface (pun intended) it’s almost entirely pointless, and quite frankly, the more we try to explain it the more we sound like some bloke trying to explain why a JPEG of a rock sold for millions of dollars. Ah well, we’ll give it a crack anyway.
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Like those little gimmick ‘mood rings’ that everyone seemed to wear back in 2004, the latest wrap technology has allowed the new BMW iX to literally alert road users of your feelings and “aesthetic preferences”. If you’ve commuted in Sydney the odds are it’s mostly anger, but there are some alleged benefits to the futuristic exterior that goes beyond “ouch, my feelings bro”. The brand states that with these technologies a future of expression will extend far beyond a simple choice in colour. Moving towards aesthetic preferences, environmental conditions and functional requirements.
“This gives the driver the freedom to express different facets of their personality or even their enjoyment of chance outwardly, and to redefine this each time they sit into their car… similar to the status ads on social media channels, the vehicle then becomes an expression of different moods and circumstances in daily life,” said Stella Clarke, Head of Project for the BMW iX Flow featuring E Ink.
In an attempt to further justify its use, the brand goes on to explain how white paint reflects more sunlight and keeps the car cool in comparison to black which heats it up. In many ways, it sounds like a fancy alternative to the common-sense approach where you buy a white car if you don’t want it to get hot or park a black car in the shade.
So how does it work? Essentially the technology (and the brand admits to this) used in the wrap is the same paper-thin technology found in your old trusty eReader (Kindle). Millions of tiny human hair sized microcapsules move and change depending on the electromagnetic field they’re exposed to at the time. This “stimulation” combines with a number of complex algorithms that likely know what you had for breakfast that day, and the car will tailor the exterior to your needs.
Sadly, as it currently stands, the theme is limited to a sad shade of black or white. Hopefully, an ‘angry red’ scheme will hit the showroom floors in the future. In the meantime, we’ll stick to those gorgeous BMW ‘M’ colours like that found on our BMW M4 Competition press car.