Image: BMW

BMW debuted a new electric concept car called the iX Flow at CES 2022 that features color-changing panels coated with E Ink. This is the same technology used in ereaders.

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.

BMW’s E Ink can only change between black and white, but it can be animated. Stella Clarke, project leader for the BMW iX Flow, said it could offer greater levels of expression and be used to show charging status, messages, and even assist an owner in locating their car by blinking.

Another use case relates to temperature; one could adjust the color to cool or heat the vehicle. People who live in places that swing from colder to hotter temperatures over the course of a year would fully appreciate that ability.

“By implication, heating of the vehicle and passenger compartment as a result of strong sunlight and high outside temperatures can be reduced by changing the exterior to a light color,” the company said.

BMW says the technology is not planned for production and is just an “advanced research and design project.” BMW’s E Ink could theoretically work with other colors beyond black and white. Endurance over the life of the car or how it would react to damage is not known, nor is its potential cost. It seems that BMW might be on to something based on the interest it’s generated.

Sources: CNBC, The Verge

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Peter Brosdahl

As a child of the 70’s I was part of the many who became enthralled by the video arcade invasion of the 1980’s. Saving money from various odd jobs I purchased my first computer from a friend of my...

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8 Comments

  1. Yeah, this should go down well with vehicle registrations. Maybe the papers can be e-ink too and they change in accordance with the car 😀

  2. [QUOTE=”Brian_B, post: 46437, member: 96″]
    Can’t wait until it gets sold as ad space
    [/QUOTE]
    From Uber to food delivery, I can already imagine it.

  3. [QUOTE=”ThreeDee, post: 46443, member: 164″]
    I’ll take the “Free with Ads” model
    [/QUOTE]
    In eastern europe there was actually a pyramid scheme based on that model. I don’t remember the company name, but they’d offer to pay a percentage or even the full monthly instalments for cheaper cars for the ad space. Needless to say the company cut and run after about a year and there were a bunch of naive people who had a car worth €10.000 with €15,000 in loan against it and no way to pay the monthly fee.

  4. So, you can have any color you want, as long as it is black, grey or white…

    I wonder what it would take to repair this after a scratch or a collision…

  5. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 46509, member: 203″]
    So, you can have any color you want, as long as it is black, grey or white…

    I wonder what it would take to repair this after a scratch or a collision…
    [/QUOTE]
    Oh good lord… good thought.

    My car got a scratch on it and now the bottom half of the passenger door won’t change color.

    LOL imagine how expensive insurance will be on these that covers that once insurers learn of the cost to repair.

    Oh you want de car scratch fixed and color change repaired.. Da we can do dat. 4 thousand dollars, and leave it with us for 3 months. Your insurance covers rentals da?

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