The 2022 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show is underway and it continues to be a platform to showcase interesting developments and future tech from the automotive world. BMW chose the all-digital technology event to introduce not one but two different versions of its iX electric crossover. One of them is the BMW iX M60 – the most powerful variant of the iX SUV that marks the entry of the BMW M brand into the electric mobility space. However, the one we are going to talk about here is the BMW iX Flow concept that comes with a very interesting feature. Imagine you’re bored with the exterior paint of your car and you wish to change. Either you’ll have to spend a ton of money to get it re-painted or get it wrapped in the desired color. What if I tell you that the cars in the future will be able to change colors at the touch of a button. Wicked, right! The BMW iX Flow is a technology demonstrator that tells us that we might not be too far away from that future.
The BMW iX Flow concept is covered in a special kind of wrap that relies on E Ink technology to change colors. It’s the same technology that is used by the displays of e-readers like the Amazon Kindle series. The wrap is made of millions of microcapsules of E Ink that are just as thick as human hair. The capsules are filled with negatively charged white pigments and positively charged black ones and a small electrical field makes the surface change color instantly. One of the biggest benefits of the E Ink technology is its energy efficiency – it consumes current only when it needs to change color.
As of now, the BMW iX Flow’s special wrap, just like other e-readers, can only change color between black and white. This might not sound like a huge deal but BMW points out the benefits of such a feature. The most functional real-world benefit of the color-changing wrap is that it can help in efficiently maintaining the temperature inside the cabin. White can reflect the summer sun’s hot rays in summers to keep the car cool, while the black exterior can do the opposite in winters. BMW has not said anything on the production possibilities of the E Ink technology and how expensive could it be, but the BMW iX Flow is definitely a step in the right direction. Although, it might be nightmarish for the cops if it ever makes production.