BMW iX Flow showcases colour-changing technology

The BMW iX is already a unique-looking beast, but a new e-ink exterior treatment has made it even more so.

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Scott Collie
Scott Collie
Deputy Editor
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Indecisive? BMW has shown off new technology that allows you to change the colour of your car.

The electric iX Flow SUV shown off at CES features an E Ink exterior finish capable of changing colour on command. The car on show at CES can transition from an off white, through grey and all the way to what looks like black.

The e-ink – or electrophoretic technology – can change its design when an electric current is run through it.

“Electrophoretic colouring is based on a technology developed by E Ink that is most well-known from the displays used in eReaders. 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,” BMW says.

“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.”

Along with exterior personalisation, the BMW says its chameleonic exterior can be used to increase efficiency. When the weather is hot, a pale exterior finish absorbs less heat and could theoretically make the car cooler.

The opposite applies in winter, where a dark finish could hold more heat in the car and reduce the load on battery-sapping heaters.

“Digital experiences won’t just be limited to displays in the future. There will be more and more melding of the real and virtual. With the BMW iX Flow, we are bringing the car body to life,” said Frank Weber, member of the board of Management of BMW AG for development.

BMW points to the fact e-ink doesn’t require a constant current to hold its colour as evidence of its energy efficiency.

MORE: Everything BMW iX

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Scott Collie
Scott Collie

Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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