Detroit isn’t just about new cars – there’s plenty of working-in-the-background technology as well as future ideas and solutions to be found, though many a time they’re presented in such an unglamorous manner they tend to be easily overlooked.

So it’s nice to see something like Johnson Controls’ ie:3 concept vehicle, which was unveiled at the NAIAS. The ie:3 is a mockup of a fully electric vehicle based on a small car segment platform, and the automotive supplier is using it to showcase a host of interior (telematics, storage, fabrics) and battery-based solutions for the coming future. It’s a great way to get noticed, and a great way to show off the tech.

Primarily, the ie:3 is the chosen platform to debut Johnson Controls-Saft’s next-generation, low-profile lithium-ion battery pack, a unique, self-contained system that’s integrated easily into the vehicle in a small space under the floor as a complete system, enabling a target 160 km range per charge. The new prismatic format cell achieves greater packaging efficiency and uses less space in the vehicle.

The improved spaciousness enabled by the packaging of the battery offers designers and engineers a flat floor that provides additional options to enhance overall flexibility in the vehicle.

For example, the ie:3 features stadium seating – deployed in the front row, it offers enough space to stow a suitcase, and the rear seats easily fold flat to the floor, creating even more storage options. A center console is spacious enough to accommodate a large handbag. The seat pads are made from natural fibers that are easier to recycle.

Elsewhere, there’s an innovative and alternative lightweight sound system – this one features a headliner with an integrated six transducer audio system, freeing up storage space on the door panels.

The ‘car’ also showcases unique LED lighting that enhances the overall interior ambience, as well as a comprehensive driver information system featuring a 6.5-inch “transflective” cluster display – which improves visibility even with the glare of sunlight – and a transparent, integrated heads up display.

Also on the ie:3: a wireless charging system called E-Bin located in the centre console, which allows for the recharging of handphones and other electronic gadgets.

Gallery after the jump.

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