German carmaker BMW is presenting a prototype called iX Flow at the CES 2022 that uses e-ink technology to change the shade of the car’s exterior with a click of a button. The carmaker said it has developed an e-ink body wrap that has been applied on the surface of iX Flow.
The surface contains millions of microcapsules with negatively charged white pigments and positively charged black pigments. When electric signals are passed through it, the e-ink layer brings the preferred colour pigments to the surface, giving users the option to personalise the look of their car instantly.
BMW’s demo at CES shows that users can change the appearance of the car by selecting different shades of black and white or a combination of the two.
Widely used in ebook reader devices such as Amazon’s Kindle, e-ink technology is highly energy-efficient and uses electric current only during the colour changing phase.
“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,” Frank Weber, member, Board of Management of BMW AG, Development, said in a statement.
In addition to changing the shade of the car, the e-ink surface can also improve car efficiency, said the company. Applying certain colours can reduce the amount of cooling and heating required from the vehicle’s air conditioning system. It will also go a long way in cutting the energy consumption of the car’s electrical system, which in turn will reduce fuel consumption, the company explained.
Similarly, in an all-electric car, changing the colour to suit the weather can minimise the heating up of the car dashboard.