BMW stole the show at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2022 that took place in Las Vegas, unveiling a colour-changing version of its all-electric concept car, the iX.
It wowed audience with its prototype for an E Ink system, a special body wrap that engineers have designed to precisely fit and wrap all of the vehicle’s contours. When stimulated by electric signals, the wrap which is described as “electrophoretic”, brings different colour pigments to the surface and “changes” the colour of the car panels.
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BMW showcased the E Ink at work, transforming the iX from white to black and the multiple shades of grey in between. The panel surfaces carry millions of tiny capsules, each one containing negatively charged white pigments and positively charged black pigments. Electric currents bring either negative or positive pigments to the surface, resulting in the different black or white shades.
Upon completing the change of tone, the panels retain the shade, after which they will no longer need anymore electrical charge. Each pigment carries its own electric charge and can therefore be manipulated by applied magnetic fields.
BMW says it has no plans to bring the technology to any production vehicles just yet, largely because of cost reasons. The iX retails at a starting price of US$83,000 with regular paint job, we can’t imagine what the cost would be with the E Ink.
On the other hand, it could help with fuel efficiency and comfort. A white car on hot days will reduce internal heat for driver and passengers while a black body can absorb more heat during cold seasons, reducing the need for heat and ventilation.
Pragmatism aside, a colour-changing car will be something really cool to have in the garage and shout out about.