BMW used the recent CES 2022 conference to unveil a special feature on a concept car that is absolute proof that the future is here. A car that changes colour via an App on your phone.
It’s just like something out of a Bond film or a sci-fi flick like Minority Report to see a car that can change the colour of its panels from white to black to shades of grey using E Ink technology which is similar to what is used in Kindle screens allowing those devices to display black screens or the paper texture style making it easier to read than bright tablets.
The last time we saw a colour breakthrough like this was with the toy cars “Hot Wheels Colour Shifters” in the late 80s that changed colour activated by water or changed in temperature similar to a “hyper-colour t-shirt”.
(Image: Hot Wheels)
So what is E Ink? It’s a new method of changing the shade of the car’s exterior, using electrophoretic technology.
The E Ink technology is actually a body wrap that, when stimulated with electrical signals, uses electrophoretic technology to change the pigment of its surface. At the moment, it only seems the technology can change colour from white to black and shades of grey in-between. This is because it uses negatively charged white pigments and positively charged black pigments, allowing the electrical signals to choose which are shown.
Head of BMW Group Design: "The BMW iX Flow is an advanced research and design project and a great example of the forward-thinking that BMW is known for."
According to BWM, no energy is required to actually maintain the colour once it has changed and it has a variety of use cases other than just being really cool.
One use is for sunlight reflection, so on a hot day changing your car to white to reflect the heat or on a colder day to black to absorb it.
Perhaps you’ve forgotten where you parked in a busy car park. The press of a button could make the car flash and allow you to spot it amongst the crowd.
E Ink would also allow the company to display a readout on the exterior of the car showing battery status or the name of the person driving it. The possibilities are endless.
On a more cynical note, imagine you have just robbed a bank, you could pull into an alley and change the colour of the car to escape the authorities. Not that we recommend this behaviour, plus if you can afford this BWM prototype you probably don’t need to go around robbing banks. It’s just an example.
It’s expected that future technological advancements will allow you to change the car to other colours in the spectrum as well so if you are indecisive on colour selection in your vehicle it could be a great option to drive around in the colour car that matches your mood for that day.
The car is still a prototype and not available for consumer sale yet but is a great glimpse into the near future of automotive brilliance.
Just don’t scratch it, we imagine the repair costs might be ridiculously high.