German auto major BMW has unveiled the world’s first “colour-changing” car at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The concept car, called the BMW iX Flow, uses electronic ink technology normally found in e-readers to transform the car's exterior into a variety of patterns in gray and white.
The surface of the BMW iX Flow featuring E Ink can vary its shade at the driver's prompting. The fluid colour changes are made possible by a specially developed body wrap that is tailored precisely to the contours of the all-electric Sports Activity Vehicle from BMW.
The surface coating of the BMW iX Flow featuring E Ink contains many millions of microcapsules, with a diameter equivalent to the thickness of a human hair. Each of these microcapsules contains negatively charged white pigments and positively charged black pigments.
Depending on the chosen setting, stimulation by means of an electrical field causes either the white or the black pigments to collect at the surface of the microcapsule, giving the car body the desired shade.
“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 into their car,” says 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.”
Although now this feature is controlled via an app, in the future, the changes would also be controlled by a button on the car's dashboard or perhaps even by hand gestures, Clarke said. No energy is needed to maintain the colour the driver selects, according to BMW.