Car companies come up with crazy concepts every year at CES, and this year’s no different. BMW helped to generate some buzz in this vein with the introduction of the iX Flow, a concept car that’s covered in E Ink so you can change its paint job whenever you want.
The actual technical side of it is a little more complicated than that, but that’s the general idea. BMW says the car uses the same E Ink technology found on devices like the Amazon Kindle implemented as “many millions of microcapsules, with a diameter equivalent to the thickness of a human hair.” The microcapsules contain both negatively charged white pigments and positively charged black pigments, and when either is stimulated with electricity, they rise to the top and visually change the color of the vehicle.
BMW says the iX Flow can adapt white, black, and gray color ways with the technology. You can change the color with the push of a button if you like, and there are apparently various animations that can play out which look like pure CGI.
It’s a pretty wild effect, but it’s incredibly unclear how practical or durable it would be on a consumer-grade vehicle. BMW seems to think shifting the paint job to black could help with warming the car in cold conditions, while a white finish would help reflect sunlight and keep the inside of the vehicle cooler on warmer days.
Whatever the case, it’s unlikely this technology will be coming to a dealership near you anytime soon. For now, BMW will be using this car strictly for research. But damn, does it look cool.
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