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What colour for your next car? Pick the BMW iX Flow

The BMW iX Flow is covered with eInk panels the thickness of a human hair. They can change from black to white creating any pattern from deep black to shining white. Image credit: BMW

Not sure what colour for your next car? No problem. BMW has showcased at CES 2022 a new technology (new in terms of application to a car) that makes possible to change the colour of the car at the flip of a switch. Do you like it white! Here it is. Changed your mind and want it black. There you are!

The new BMW iX, top of the BMW line for EV has been equipped with eInk, a layer of pixels “painted” on the car having the same thickness of the usual paint, that can change from black to white by changing the polarity of the cells containing the electronic ink. Each cell can be controlled independently of the others so that it is possible to create any pattern and even moving pattern through a computer application (watch the clip).  The car was used to impress visitors, and I am sure it did!, and it is not for sale at least for now (no info has been provided on the cost of such an “optional”. At the same time BMW has declared that they are working on an advanced version that will be able to display any colour, may be CES 2023?

What I found interesting is not the possibility to change at whim the color of my car (although I admit it would be cool!) but the evolution of eInk technology. It has become mainstream with the e-reader (like Kindle) but now BMW has shown that it can be made in very very thin and flexible (bendable)  layers that can be glued on a car perfectly following its shape.

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the New Initiative Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He is a member of the IEEE in 2050 Ad Hoc Committee. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.