Still agonizing over the color of your next car? Want to get a new layer of paint for your daily driver around the new year? BMW iX can resolve these issues for you, as the car’s body changes color at the mere press of a button.
Without further ado, let’s watch some footage.
— Out of Spec Studios (@Out_of_Spec) January 4, 2022
This resembles a scene straight out of a sci-fi movie, only transplanted to just outside of the CES site in Las Vegas. For skeptics, here’s yet another angle.
Leaving the garage in a white car and returning in a black car would surely draw the ire of one’s partner along with accusations of splurging on new paint jobs. However, for the latest EV from BMW, the iX M60, getting a fresh coat of paint is a simple matter of pressing a button. Without spending a dime, drivers can change the color of their beloved cars.
BMW adopted E Ink, which has been used for ebook readers for many years, as their color-shifting solution of choice. E Ink contains millions of hair-sized microcapsules, which further contain white balls with negative charge and black balls with positive charge. The balls move through an electric field and show black or white colors. Notwithstanding the weirdness of it all, one can imagine the car as one that is covered in Kindles.
This sort of mechanism by design can only shift between black and white. However, E Ink technologies are constantly experiencing breakthroughs, with a colored variation already released. If the colored E Ink can be used for automotive purposes, then it stands to reason that the car can shift to more colors or even display pictures and text. Once that happens, inter-vehicle communication will become much more interesting.
However, it is still far too early for authorities to fret and criminals to get excited, as BMW indicates that the aforementioned technology still remains a product of research in advanced painting technology as opposed to a retail product.
In addition to external appearances, BMW has also mentioned other potential use cases for the color shifting exterior. “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. In cooler weather, a dark outer skin will help the vehicle to absorb noticeably more warmth from the sun,” according to BMW’s press release.
As good as it may sound, it is highly doubtful that the aforementioned technology can protect against extreme weathers, including gusts, heavy rain, or sunlight. At any rate, the fact that the car can change colors may just outweigh all other factors.