BMW unveils world’s first color-changing car, here is how it works

In what can be termed as a global first, German carmaker BMW has unveiled one of the most amazing technologies in the auto world: a car that changes colours. The company’s electric iX SUV’s paint scheme goes from black to white at the touch of a button.

BMW doesn’t want future buyers to have to worry about what colour their next car will be as the German automaker unveiled a new concept vehicle called the iX Flow with “E Ink” that can change colours.

How it works

The trick isn’t done with paint at all, but with specially formed wrapping cut to fit the SUV’s body panels.

The fluid colour changes are made possible by a specially developed body wrap that’s similar to the material used in an Amazon Kindle E-Reader that’s tailored to the contours of the all-electric vehicle. When stimulated by electrical signals, the electrophoretic technology brings different colour pigments to the surface, causing the body skin to take on the desired coloration, according to BMW.

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Also, the colour changing effect can make the vehicle more fuel efficient and comfortable. On hot days, a white body could reflect heat, keeping the cabin a more comfortable temperature and lessening the need for air conditioning. Conversely, a black body absorbs more heat and helps keep the cabin warm on cold days, reducing the need for heat and ventilation.

On the other hand, were it to make it into production, the cost of body damage repairs could be just as striking as the colour effects.

Stella Clarke, project lead for BMW iX Flow featuring E Ink, said the color changing is “kind of crazy” but also could offer “some useful use cases.” She said it offers greater self-expression, could display messages such as charging status and blink if you can’t find it in a crowded parking lot.

“We see a lot of sensible use cases behind it,” she said during a media briefing.

The actual vehicle is BMW’s new iX electric SUV but the colour-changing technology won’t be show-room ready any time soon. Clarke said the colour-changing technology isn’t slated to go into production at this time but there could be “a road for” that in the future

Automakers routinely use concept vehicles to gauge customer interest or show potential technologies or the future direction of a vehicle or brand.

The BMW iX Flow featuring E Ink can only change colours through a scale of white, grey and black, but officials said the technology theoretically could offer other colours.

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