Posted on Jan 7, 2022, 3:08 p.m.Updated Jan 7, 2022, 3:13 PM
Change body color and mood with the snap of a finger. BMW caused a sensation at CES in Las Vegas by presenting a new technology developed in collaboration with the company E-Ink for its iX electric SUV.
Called iX Flow, it can thus adapt its body “to different situations and individual wishes” by varying the color of its body according to weather conditions, traffic, or quite simply the wishes of the driver. E-Ink technology has been used in many applications since its inception in 1997, from digital whiteboards and laptop screens to e-readers and illuminated billboards.
The German manufacturer explained that a coating covering the vehicle, containing “several million microcapsules with a diameter equivalent to the thickness of a human hair”, is traversed by an electric current. The latter will then “turn on” or “turn off” small capsules which are stuck all over the filter. Once the current passes, the capsules are white, and vice versa. In less than two seconds, the SUV completely changes its body color, from white to gray.
Aesthetic, but not only
The iX Flow is still at the prototype stage. It will undoubtedly be necessary to wait a few years before seeing this option proposed in the BMW dealerships. The current model allows you to go from black to white crossing many shades of gray, but this palette could be expanded to show a rainbow of different shades.
“This gives the driver the freedom to express outwardly different facets of his personality, or even his pleasure in change, and to redefine it every time he gets into his car,” said Stella Clarke, project manager for the BMW iX Flow with E Ink. “Similar to fashion or to the statuses posted on social networks, the vehicle then becomes the expression of different moods and circumstances of everyday life. “
But it’s not just a question of aesthetics. BMW wants to take advantage of this new system to make the car more energy efficient. Being able to turn a vehicle from dark to light while driving in high temperatures would help with efficiency and thermal regulation inside the vehicle. Enough to increase the life of a vehicle’s battery, and therefore its range.