With automotive gadgetry getting ever more advanced, the humble key fob has been left behind. Until now, that is: BMW's i8 plug-in-hybrid sports car now comes with touchscreen fob that lets you do far more than just lock and unlock your car.
An angular construction of aluminium and glass, it houses a 2.2-inch LCD screen that primarily displays information about how far you can drive, such as fuel level and electric battery range. But it also allows you to swipe using the same gestures as on your smartphone, to access a range of sub-menus, to see if doors and windows are locked, say, or check if you need a service.
All in, it provides a similar service to BMW's i Remote app—but in this case, it receives the data using the same radio signal that's used to lock and unlock the car. Whenever you're in range of the vehicle, the fob updates. In terms of power, it simply charges while it's nestled in a special charging tray on the dash, or via micro USB if you forget to do that. Either way, it'll last up to three months without a charge.
The new fob will be available as an option for the BMW i8 from autumn 2015. [BMW Blog]