It may seem like a fantasy to change a car’s exterior color without the need for a traditional paint process, but what if it could be done with the touch of a button?
This is a feature that BMW is developing with the help of E Ink technology, and the German automaker has brought a color-changing prototype to CES 2022 in Las Vegas.
Dubbed the iX Flow, this electric prototype SUV uses E Ink’s electric technology to instantly change its exterior color.
How does the form work?
The iX has a special case that generates different color pigments on the surface through electrical stimulation. The effect of changing the color can go from front to back, from side to side, in stripes, spots, etc. The “electronic ink” cover allows for this adjustment, according to what was published by the specialized site Road Show.
Executing an E Ink has two main benefits. First, it opens the door to a whole new world of customization, allowing car owners to change the color and design of their cars based on mood, scenario, or other motivation.
The car “becomes an expression of the different moods and circumstances of everyday life,” said Stella Clark, iX Flow project manager.
Another benefit lies in increased efficiency. On hot, sunny days, white cars stay cooler than black cars, because they reflect more sunlight. Similarly, on cold days, darker exterior colors help the car absorb more sunlight, and therefore more heat.
BMW says this can reduce the amount of heating or cooling needed to adjust the vehicle’s temperature on hot or cold days, which will improve overall operating efficiency even if the difference is small.