Colour changing 2023 BMW iX steals the show

Colour changing 2023 BMW iX steals the show

BMW stole the show at the Consumer Electronics Showin Las Vegas with its innovative colour changing iX...

BMW debuted a show-stopping innovation at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2022) in Las Vegas back in January. The world premiere of the 'iX Flow featuring E Ink' took headlines around the world. The ultimate in personalisation, the concept uses digitisation to change the exterior hue of a vehicle to different situations or individual wishes. The surface of the iX Flow featuring E Ink can vary its shade at the touch of a button.

The colour changes are made possible by a specially developed wrap, when stimulated with electrical signals the electrophoretic technology brings different colour pigments to the surface, causing the «skin» of the car to take on the desired colour – here changing from white to dark grey. E Ink technology opens up completely new ways of changing a vehicle's appearance, the technology offers unprecedented potential for personalisation on the outside and the inside of future BMW production vehicles.

In addition to the obvious personal choices of which colour you fancy having your BMW in a particular moment, the technology also has efficiency benefits. In particular the different attributes of light and dark colours when reflecting sunlight, and the absorption of thermal energy. A white surface reflects a lot more sunlight than a black one, for example. The use of strong sunlight and high outside temperatures could be harnessed, by changing the exterior to a light colour a car could require less heating. In cooler weather, a dark outer skin will help the vehicle to absorb more warmth from the sun. In both cases, colour changes can help to cut the amount of cooling and heating required from the vehicle's air conditioning system, reducing the amount of energy the vehicle's electrical system needs to use, lowering its fuel or electricity consumption. In an all-electric car the benefits are obvious. Interestingly, E Ink technology itself is extremely energy efficient, the electrophoretic technology needs absolutely no energy to maintain the chosen colour state, current only flows during the short colour changing phase.

Electrophoretic colouring is based on technology similar to that used in the displays of handheld eReaders. The surface coating on the iX Flow features millions of microcapsules, each with a diameter equivalent to the thickness of a human hair. These contain negatively charged white pigments and positively charged black pigments, stimulation by means of an electrical field causes either the white or the black pigments to collect at the surface of the microcapsule, giving the car its desired shade.

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