BMW Color Changing Car unveiled at CES 2022
In the vein of a James Bond movie, BMW has created a color-changing vehicle that works in the real world.
In an innovative system called ‘iX Flow’, the customizable, totally electric BMW iX will make its debut at CES 2022 with body panels built from E Ink displays, the same technology as in Kindle e-readers.
Once the E Ink panels are mounted to the vehicle, a protective layer is applied to keep them from being damaged by the weather.
The virtual BMW iX that was shown was white at one point, then black, and then white again. Although the car’s exterior has a triangle design when white, it nevertheless makes a strong impression.
This is most likely owing to the car’s panels’ physical makeup, which makes it harder to see from a distance.
It is now possible to change a vehicle’s colour from black to white in a demo, but BMW believes that other colours are achievable, allowing for greater variation in the future.
Future applications of this technology will go beyond simply altering the color of the car’s exterior.
To give a car a unique look, BMW says the technology may be applied to certain parts of the vehicle, such as the grille or license plates (although there would be numerous legal limitations here).
Another benefit for EV owners would be the ability to have information about their vehicle’s charge status displayed on the outside of their vehicle, similar to what you see on an e-reader.
It’s no secret that e-ink panels are popular in the electronics industry, but they’ve also been used in wearables, smartphones, tablets, and more.
E Ink is a highly versatile and flexible substance that can be sliced into multiple forms and hole-punched, making it excellent for covering the odd angles of a vehicle.
Colors may be summoned to the surface by passing a current through the panels, which contain a number of transparent capsules containing color pigments. Despite the fact that it sounds like it could use a lot of electricity, this is not the case.
Only a very small amount of energy is needed to transition hues, and none is needed to maintain a color in place. If you’re worried that the feature may drain your EV battery and reduce your vehicle’s range, you shouldn’t be.
Is this something we’ll see on a car that will be available to the general public in the future? BMW hasn’t ruled out the possibility of using the technology, citing encouraging early results.
As E Ink is a relatively simple material, BMW thinks it’s a good bet that it will be feasible.