When you’re buying a new car, the colour of the paintwork is always an important choice. Do you go for the safe black or white finish, or perhaps something a little bolder like a primary colour? This tricky decision might become a thing of the past thanks to a new paint technology revealed by BMW in its new iX model.
In a demonstration overnight, BMW has offered a live look at this new technology that looks straight out of science fiction, where the SUV in question can shift seamlessly between white, grey and black. The effect can be seen across every panel in the body of the SUV, including the wheels, thanks to E Ink technology that BMW has been working on for several years.
E Ink is similar to the paper-like screen of the Amazon Kindle, but BMW is reimagining it to communicate beyond the pages of a book or magazine. The automaker successfully covered the body of the vehicle in a paint wrap that features millions of microcapsules of E Ink across its entire surface.
These E Ink microcapsules are filled with positively charged black pigments and negatively charged white pigments, allowing BMW to change the colour of the vehicle when it applies a specific electric field. The electric field brings the pigment to the visible surface of the microcapsules, which across a scale of several million microcapsules, act to change the entire appearance of the iX.
“Digital experiences won’t just be limited to displays in the future,” said Frank Weber, from BMW AG. “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.”
The E Ink technology is an exciting step forward by BMW, and while it remains limited in the range of hues it can offer, hints at a more visually dynamic future. Likewise, the technology is remarkably energy-efficient, as it only consumes a current while the colour is changing, not once it’s fixed. It’s an exciting future that BMW has offered a window into, especially for the fact that agonising over the colour of your ride could soon be a thing of the past.