BMW unveils the car that changes color

That the technology plays a fundamental role in the automotive sector is a fact known to all. For several years now, in fact, manufacturers have made extensive use of devices, sensors and communication systems to make car journeys safer and more enjoyable. But no one had ever tried – or at least thought – to use technology to create a car that changed color. At least until today.

Exploring the stands of BMW at CES 2022, in fact, it is possible to notice a vehicle that is only apparently “normal”. At first glance, in fact, the bodywork and design of the BMW iX Flow (twin of the BMW iX already available on the market) seem to be similar to that of the latest full electric SAVs from the Bavarian house. Just wait a few moments, however, that it is only appearance: the bodywork of the prototype presented by BMW at the Las Vegas electronics fair is able to change color in a matter of seconds, taking on the shade that best suits the mood or clothing of the driver.

How BMW’s color-changing car works

The car that changes color comes from collaboration between BMW and E Ink, the company that designed and built the technology behind e-book readers. Using the same principles, E Ink has created one electrophoretic surface, capable of adapting perfectly to the contours of every BMW all-electric Sports Activity Vehicle.

The surface is made up of millions of microcapsules about the size of a human hair. Each capsule contains negatively charged white pigments and positively charged black pigments – just one simple electrical impulse – activated from inside the passenger compartment or, perhaps, through an app command – to change the color of the vehicle. In a few seconds, different color pigments will begin to appear on the bodywork, based on the choices made by the driver.

Born from the collaboration with E Ink, the BMW iX Flow can change the color thanks to the electrophoretic surface, which is activated with a simple electrical impulse

Not only that: BMW and E Ink do not exclude that electrophoretic surfaces may, in a not too distant future, also be used for change color inside the vehicle, thus adapting it to the external coloring.

“These technologies give the driver the freedom to express different facets of his personality and to change the exterior of the vehicle to his liking every time he sits in the car if he so desires,” says Stella Clarke, Head of Project for BMW. iX Flow in collaboration with E Ink.

Not just aesthetics: the advantages of electrophoretic surfaces

Anyone who thinks that the color change of the body is a mere fact of personal taste or aesthetics will have to think again. The different shades of color, in fact, will help improve well-being inside the passenger compartment and vehicle efficiency. For example, a dark car is known to absorb more heat energy than a vehicle with a light body. Consequently, in the warmer months the temperature inside the passenger compartment can reach and exceed 40 or 50 degrees centigrade.

With the new BMW iX Flow, however, the driver can choose to change the color of the vehicle according to the weather, thus preventing the vehicle from absorbing too much thermal energy and causing the internal temperature to skyrocket. This will make it possible reduce the use of air conditioning both in summer and in winter, affecting fuel consumption and vehicle range. A factor that should not be underestimated, especially if you are behind the wheel of an electric car: changing the color of the bodywork based on the weather could allow you to travel a few tens of kilometers more.


Source: Virgilio Motori by motori.virgilio.it.

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