German automaker, BMW, recently, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, unveiled its newly developed “colour-changing” car which is the first of its kind in the world. 

The concept car, named “the BMW IX Flow,” uses electronic ink technology normally found in e-readers to transform the car’s exterior into a variety of patterns in grey and white.

BMW’s research engineer, Stella Clarke, while explaining how they came about the new technology, said, “This is really energy-efficient colour change using the technology E Ink, so we took this material, it’s kind of a thick paper and our challenge was to get this on a 3D object like our cars.”

Consequently, when stimulated by electrical signals controlled by a phone app, the material brings different pigments to the surface, causing the car to take on a different shade or design, such as racing stripes. However, Clarke stated that subsequently, the vehicle will be made in such a way that the colour changes on the exterior of the vehicles would be controlled by a button on the car’s dashboard or perhaps even by hand gestures.

 Similarly, she reiterated that no energy is needed to maintain the colour the driver selects, Though the vehicle displayed at CES could only alternate between gray and white, the company assured that the technology will be expanded to cover a spectrum of colours subsequently.

“My favourite use case is the use of colour to influence sunlight reflections, on a hot, sunny day like today, you could switch the colour white to reflect sunlight. On a cold day, you could switch it black to absorb the heat.”