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CES Electrifies with EV Debuts

Sony and Chrysler unveil electric vehicles, while BMW shows color-shifting car.

Stephen Moore

January 7, 2022

3 Min Read
Vision-S 02 car
Sony showcased its Vision-S 02 car at CES 2022 in Las Vegas.Image: Sony

Feeling blue on a Monday? Want to paint the town red on a Friday? Then the chameleon-like E Ink–clad BMW iX Flow concept car, one day, may let you show your true colors as you cruise the streets. Debuting at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week, the BMW iX Flow can change color at the touch of a button, albeit with black and white currently the only two color options.

The BMW iX Flow concept car on display at CES 2022 changes color at the touch of a button.

Combining E Ink’s innovative and rugged digital paper with BMW’s intelligent design algorithms enables the exterior to change from black to white in a dynamic flow. The iX Flow uses E Ink Prism, a design film developed by the eponymous company for the architecture and design markets. E Ink Prism is fully programmable, giving BMW the creative freedom to customize the patterns and materials.

E Ink consists of electrophoretic ink microcapsules, or micro cups, laminated onto a roll of plastic film. Most displays emit light. E Ink does not – it reflects ambient light in its surroundings. This gives the display a paint-like appearance. The electronic ink is made up of millions of tiny microcapsules that are filled with white and black pigments – the same ink pigments used in the printing industry. These pigments can be moved up or down using an electric field in a controlled manner, thereby changing surface appearance.

In its most complex version, E Ink Spectra, seven colors can be generated — Voyage (dark blue), Daydream (cyan), Blush (red), Sprout (green), Zest (yellow), Harvest (brown), and Waltz (black).

In addition to personalization, a variable-color automobile exterior also contributes to vehicle efficiency. By nature, a white exterior on hot days would reflect sunlight; conversely, a black exterior on cold days would absorb the sunlight. This could reduce the amount of energy the vehicle uses for heating and cooling the interior.

Sony furthers EV ambitions, keeps an eye on the kids

CES was also the venue for Sony’s latest EV iteration. Boasting a new form factor, the Vision-S 02 uses the same EV/cloud platform as the prototype Vision-S 01, which is being tested on public roads.

The Vision-S 02 employs time-of-flight (ToF) sensors for driver authentication and passenger monitoring. These sensors also support intuitive gesture and voice commands that are intended to enhance usability of the car interface. Additionally, in order to deliver an environment that suits each user's preferences, the vehicle will include a new function that allows users to customize the display theme and the acceleration and deceleration sounds of the vehicle.

In order to accelerate its entry into mobility, Sony will establish an operating company, Sony Mobility Inc., in the spring of 2022.

Chrysler announces all-electric lineup

Chrysler unveiled its Chrysler Airflow Concept at CES 2022. The all-electric concept integrates leading-edge drive-system technology with intuitive AI and connectivity, delivering a 350- to 400-mile range and fast-charging functionality. The all-wheel-drive vehicle is powered by two 150-kW electric-drive motors (EDMs), one in the front and another in the rear. The concept is designed to accommodate larger capacity EDMs, offering the potential for future high-performance applications. By positioning the drive motors in the front and rear, interior space is maximized; it also supports the large wheel size and wide stance of the Airflow Concept.

Using a menu-based format, screens installed throughout the Airflow interior can be personalized, simplified, and grouped based on individuals and interests. Information on the screens can be shared with all passengers via swiping. Customization and personalization are key, whether driving or acting as a co-pilot.

About the Author(s)

Stephen Moore

Stephen has been with PlasticsToday and its preceding publications Modern Plastics and Injection Molding since 1992, throughout this time based in the Asia Pacific region, including stints in Japan, Australia, and his current location Singapore. His current beat focuses on automotive. Stephen is an avid folding bicycle rider, often taking his bike on overseas business trips, and is a proud dachshund owner.

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