The CES 2022 has begun, and BMW has debuted a revolutionary color-changing paint design on an all-electric iX. Changing the color of a car's exterior at the touch of a button may sound like science fiction, but the technology to do so has been in the works for more than a decade. Although it has yet to enter mass production, BMW's new iX Flow concept demonstrates that the carmaker is working to make it a reality.
The German automaker announced that it will display technology that allows a vehicle's exterior color to be changed at the press of a button. The iX Flow's color-changing exterior is made possible by E Ink, the same material that powers e-readers like the Amazon Kindle's paper-like displays.
BMW wrapped the iX with a unique wrap made up of millions of microcapsules of E Ink that are as thin as human hair. Negatively charged white pigments and positively charged black pigments are mixed in each capsule. The white or black pigments then collect at the surface of the microcapsules due to an electrical field.
Changing from gray to white may not appear to be a significant accomplishment, but the basic color-changing palette has practical applications right now. Changing the car's color from white to gray, according to BMW, may assist in heat or cooling the cabin depending on the season.
Electrophoretic technology is also energy efficient, as the current only has to flow when the color is changed.
It's unknown whether BMW intends to sell color-changing paint like this to its consumers or whether it was produced just as a technological demonstration.