STATEN ISLAND, NY — Soon drivers will be able to change the color of their car with the touch of a screen.
Earlier this month, BMW unveiled its latest concept car, the BMW iX Flow, which uses “e-ink” technology to change the look of the car’s exterior.
“In the future, digital experiences will not be limited to screens. There will be more and more fusion of the real and the virtual. With the BMW iX Flow, we bring bodywork to life,” said Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development.
Currently, the car can only cycle between shades of gray, ranging from white to gray to silver to black.
Users can cover the entire exterior in a single color or configure it so that different parts of the car display different shades, all using a mobile app.
Eventually, the car will be able to cover the full color spectrum and will likely include an in-vehicle button that allows drivers to change colors on the fly, without using their phone.
“It gives the driver the freedom to express different facets of their personality, even their enjoyment of the change outward, and to redefine that every time they sit in their car,” said Stella Clarke, chief project for the BMW iX Flow.
“Similar to fashion or status announcements on social media, the vehicle then becomes an expression of different moods and circumstances of everyday life,” Clark added.
The car, which does not yet have an expected release date, is wrapped in a form-fitting coating that uses “electronic ink” which, when stimulated, can bring various color pigments to the surface.
Changing the vehicle’s color not only provides users with an unprecedented level of aesthetic customization, but can also increase the car’s efficiency when operating in certain weather conditions, according to BMW.
Turning the exterior to white on a hot, sunny day will reflect more sunlight, making the interior of the car cooler. On the other hand, going black in cold weather will allow the car to absorb more sunlight, keeping the interior warmer.
“The BMW iX Flow is an advanced research and design project and an excellent example of the forward thinking that BMW is known for,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW Group Design Manager.