BMW Reveals Colour Changing Car Concept

From digital whiteboards to e-reader displays, and even personal accessories, E Ink technology has proven itself useful for various applications.

Now, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2022, that technology has made its way to the automotive industry, with BMW unveiling a concept version of the BMW iX Flow that can change colours at the driver’s prompting.

It can do this due to an E-Ink wrap that’s been cut and shaped to perfectly fit the electric crossover’s body. The electronic paper display technology uses tiny microcapsules of coloured ink that rise or sink to change their visibility and produce specific colours, patterns, and designs.

According to BMW, “when stimulated by electrical signals, the electrophoretic technology brings different colour pigments to the surface, causing the body skin to take on the desired colouration.”

It’s a neat trick, but also a practical way to improve the vehicle’s efficiency. The vehicle’s finish can be flipped to white on a hot summer’s day to reflect the sun’s rays or flipped to black to absorb heat in winter. In both situations, selective colours can help to reduce the level of cooling and heating required from the vehicle, with potential benefits for fuel and electricity consumption.

“E Ink technology itself is extremely energy efficient. Unlike displays or projectors, electrophoretic technology needs absolutely no energy to keep the chosen colour state constant. Current only flows during the short colour changing phase.”

While the current iteration can only swap between a pair of colours, the company hopes for the palette to be eventually expanded to display a wide spectrum of colours.

“This gives the driver the freedom to express different facets of their personality or even their enjoyment of change outwardly, and to redefine this each time they sit in their car,” said Stella Clarke, Head of Project for the BMW iX Flow featuring E Ink.

“Similar to fashion or the status ads on social media channels, the vehicle then becomes an expression of different moods and circumstances in daily life.”

Source: BMW | Magical exterior colour-change. BMW iX Flow featuring E Ink.

7 January 2022

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