BMW unveils color-changing car with E Ink ‘paint’

BMW has developed a car that changes color at the touch of a button or even automatically. The German automaker revealed the magic paint (E Ink) on a version of its 2022 iX electric SUV at the CES consumer electronics show. BMW says the technology is just a demonstration — so far.

BMW unveils color-changing car with E Ink 'paint'
BMW unveils color-changing car with E Ink ‘paint’

Frank Weber, Board Member Development said in a statement on Twitter: “In the future, digital experiences will not only take place on displays. The real and the virtual will increasingly merge. With the BMW iX Flow, we are bringing the car body to life.”

It’s a new method of changing the shade of the car’s exterior, using electrophoretic technology.

The first car to get the prototype E Ink treatment is obviously the BMW iX, which was shown at CES 2022, changing its shade from white to black and back again. More than that, it was able to do it on different body panels, potentially giving the car a two-tone effect.

The E Ink technology is actually a body wrap which, 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 color from white to black, as it uses negatively charged white pigments and positively charged black pigments, allowing the electrical signals to choose which are shown. It’s actually a technology similar to that used in eReaders.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s a giant car-shaped Kindle on wheels!

This would be quite practical, as anybody who lives in, say, Phoenix can tell you. The car would be white in daylight to better reflect heat and black in the early morning to warm up from the cool night a bit and also black at dusk in order to absorb some warmth as the evening rapidly cools.

This might also plant some seeds at Apple. Who’d like a color-changing iPhone, iPad, or MacBook – or, eventually, “Apple Car?”

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  1. I wonder if they have worked out a way to,repair scratches and dents without replacing the entire panel?

    A bit of filler and a lick of paint isn’t going to work on a panel like this.

  2. Eink displays are not known to do well in the type of heat a car’s exterior (not to mention interior) has to deal with. Wonder how long the tech will last. Also can you imagine the cost of replacing panels if they get even minor damage from collisions, let alone someone keying your car? O_O

  3. If this is the eventual future norm, good luck with identifying the criminal’s vehicle. Will make hit and runs more difficult, kidnapping, theft. What a great idea—for criminals. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy.

    1. It just means you can’t use color as an identifier anymore. During the day it may make a difference. During the night much less reliable. The perception of the color may vary quite widely depending on what light is available to reflect off the perp’s vehicle.

      The greater problem I could speculate with this tech is for it to be used on the license plate surface. Imagine immediately changing the perceived license plate at will without having to get out to physically change it or having some mechanism to ‘flip’ between multiple plates.

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