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BMW reveals colour-changing car

BMW has premiered a new technology that can change the exterior colour of a car at the touch of a button.

The BMW iX Flow featuring E Ink offers the prospect of a future technology that uses digitisation to also adapt the exterior of a vehicle to different situations and individual wishes.

The surface of the BMW iX Flow featuring E Ink can vary its shade at the driver’s prompting thanks to electrophoretic technology.

Frank Weber, member of the board of management of BMW AG, Development said: “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.”

The fluid colour changes are made possible by a specially developed body wrap that is tailored precisely to the contours of the all-electric Sports Activity Vehicle from BMW.

When stimulated by electrical signals, the electrophoretic technology brings different colour pigments to the surface, causing the body skin to take on the desired colouration.

BMW says the innovative E Ink technology opens “completely new ways” of changing the vehicle’s appearance in line with the driver’s aesthetic preferences, the environmental conditions or even functional requirements.

The technology thus offers “unprecedented potential” for personalisation in the area of exterior design, according to the German automaker.

BMW Group plans to further develop this technology so that a new form of personalisation can be experienced both on the outside and in the inside of future production vehicles.

It adds that a variable exterior colour can also contribute to wellness in the interior and to the efficiency of the vehicle. This is done by taking account of the different abilities of light and dark colours when it comes to reflecting sunlight and the associated absorption of thermal energy.

A white surface reflects a lot more sunlight than a black one. By implication, heating of the vehicle and passenger compartment as a result of strong sunlight and high outside temperatures can be reduced by changing the exterior to a light colour.

In cooler weather, a dark outer skin will help the vehicle to absorb noticeably more warmth from the sun, BMW claims.

In both cases, selective colour changes can help to cut the amount of cooling and heating required from the vehicle’s air conditioning. This reduces the amount of energy the vehicle electrical system needs and with it also the vehicle’s fuel or electricity consumption.

In an all-electric car, BMW says changing the colour in line with the weather can therefore also help to increase the range. In the interior, the technology could, for example, prevent the dashboard from heating up too much.