Las Vegas, Nevada — BMW unveiled a chameleon-like concept car at the Consumer Electronics Show this week that utilizes a popular e-reader technology to provide multiple colour shade possibilities on a single vehicle.
The German automaker showed off a prototype version of the BMW iX featuring E Ink technology applied to the vehicle’s paint, allowing the SUV’s body colour to be seamlessly changed between white, black and grey.
BMW explained that “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.”
As it stands, the technology is an “advanced research and design project” for BMW and won’t be seen on any models any time soon. The company says the concept is being used largely to test different methods of energy efficiency within BMW EVs.
“A white surface reflects a lot more sunlight than a black one. 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 colour.”