BMW reveals car that changes colour by being wrapped in Kindle-style display

Andrew Griffin
Thursday 06 January 2022 13:06

BMW has revealed what it says is a “magical” car that can change colour.

The vehicle uses E-ink technology of the kind that is found in Amazon’s Kindle.

Using that display, which wraps around the vehicle, the driver would be able to instruct the car to change colour, flipping from white to black or various gradients in between.

The new technology was built to bring digital experiences out of displays and into other surfaces, according to a member of BMW’s management.

“Digital experiences won’t just be limited to displays in the future,” said Frank Weber.

“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.”

At the moment, the colours are limited to black, white and greys in between. But the company insisted that it could nonetheless prove useful.

The changes could be used to express the feelings of the owner, BMW suggested. The head of the project likened it to a status update on social media, meaning that drivers could use it to reflect “different moods and circumstances in daily life”.

But it could also be used for more functional purposes, BMW suggested. The car would be able to change from white to black in line with the environment, allowing it to take on a lighter colour in warmer weather to reflect the sun, or go darker when it would be helpful to absorb more warmth.

That could help future cars prove more efficient, the company said. The E-Ink technology itself does not use much energy, since the colours stick once they are changed, just as they do on an e-reader.

Unlike on a Kindle or other virtual book, adding the E-Ink display to a car means putting it in a number of small segments, built using laser cutting technologies. The pieces of the electronic paper can then be wrapped around the car and sealed, BMW said.

The technology is being presented at CES, the annual gadget show that has run into trouble this year as a result of many usual attendees and companies declining to visit because of fears about the coronavirus.

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