BMW has unveiled the iX Flow at the CES 2022 which comes with color changing E Ink technology. Using digitisation, the exterior of the all-electric SUV can adapt to different situations and individual wishes. The E Ink technology, offering unprecedented potential for personalisation in the area of exterior design, can vary its shade at the driver's prompting. The fluid color changes are made possible by a specially developed body wrap that is tailored precisely to the contours of BMW iX Flow electric SUV.
The BMW Group is driving the development of the technology so that a new form of personalisation can be experienced both on the outside and in the inside of future production vehicles. E Ink technology itself is extremely energy efficient. Unlike displays or projectors, the electrophoretic technology needs absolutely no energy to keep the chosen color state constant. Current only flows during the short color changing phase. Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development: "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."
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 color. In cooler weather, a dark outer skin will help the vehicle to absorb noticeably more warmth from the sun. In both cases, selective color 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, changing the color in line with the weather can therefore also help to increase the range. In the interior, the technology could prevent the dashboard from heating up too much.
Electrophoretic coloring is based on a technology developed by E Ink that is most well-known from the displays used in eReaders. The surface coating of the BMW iX Flow featuring E Ink contains many millions of microcapsules, with a diameter equivalent to the thickness of a human hair. Each of these microcapsules contains negatively charged white pigments and positively charged black pigments. Depending on the chosen setting, 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 body the desired shade. Achieving this effect on a vehicle body involves the application of many precisely fitted ePaper segments.