Of all the strange and exciting things shown during CES 2022, BMW’s iX Flow concept may be the weirdest. This experimental technology lets you change your car’s paint job at the push of a button, and oddly enough, it has roots in the Amazon Kindle.
It’s a weird connection, but hey, the iX Flow technology is very weird. It’s just a giant E Ink display plastered on the outside of a vehicle. Like the E Ink display on a Kindle, the iX Flow wrapper can transition between black, white, and gray colors by pulsing electrical currents through small microcapsules the size of a human hair.
These microcapsules flip between pigments when stimulated by an electrical current, and oddly enough, their pigment stays in place without any additional energy usage. It’s also worth noting that, although the iX Flow concept shown at CES 2022 isn’t exactly “colorful,” future E Ink technologies could dramatically expand its palette.
Okay, so what’s the point in a color-changing vehicle? BWM explains that light colors reflect heat and stay cool, while darker colors absorb heat and get warm. In an electric car, this concept could help reduce energy usage by reflecting heat on warm days and, you guessed it, absorbing heat on cold days.
But don’t expect to buy a color-changing car any time soon. BMW says that iX Flow is still just a concept, and to be honest, the E Ink wrapper is probably quite fragile. If you’ve ever seen a Kindle with a broken screen, you know you don’t want a car with a broken E Ink paint job.