If you want to change your car’s color, there are mainly two ways to do it. The first is to have the entire car repainted, while the second is by having it wrapped in a different color. But BMW wants to offer cars that change colors with a push of a button. It might sound like something out of science fiction, but the iX Flow concept shows the company is working to make it a reality.
The iX Flow concept was recently revealed at this year’s CES. It can’t switch from red to blue or yellow yet. Instead, it can only shift from gray to white and back. The iX Flow achieved the color-changing exterior by using E Ink. It’s the same stuff used in the displays of e-books such as the Amazon Kindle. The entire EV is covered with microcapsules of E Ink, roughly as thick as human hair.
To change colors, each capsule is filled with negatively charged white pigments and positively charged black ones. An electric current then causes the black or white pigment to show, changing the iX’s color.
According to BMW, the change in color from gray to white has real-world uses aside from looking really cool. The automaker says the white or gray exterior can help heat up or cool down the car’s interior. In the summer, choosing the white color can reflect the sun’s hot rays can help cool the cabin. In cooler weather, the dark outer skin will help the vehicle absorb more warmth from the sun.
BMW says the E Ink technology is extremely energy efficient. Unlike displays or projectors, the electrophoretic technology needs no energy to keep the chosen color state constant. Meanwhile, the current only flows during the short color-changing phase.
As cool as BMW’s color-changing tech is, we wonder how owners will be able to register their vehicle in the future, assuming the vehicle can constantly change colors.