The iX Flow is far from being production-ready, but BMW says that it has a potential for future applications.
The colour of a car is something that always has a personal element for a buyer. And while we all chose to buy a car in a specific colour after careful consideration, every now and then we wish to have our car in a different colour. Well, if BMW’s iX Flow technology makes it to production, you could potentially change the colour of your car whenever you like.
How does it work?
BMW says that the iX Flow uses an E Ink and a specially developed body wrap, which uses similar technology as a Kindle eBook reader. There are millions of microcapsules in the wrap with negatively charged white and positively charged black pigments. The use of an electric field allows either the black or the white pigments to come to the surface, thus giving the car the desired shade.
Yes, at the moment, this technology only allows a switch from black to white or to shades of grey, but there’s is always a possibility that advancement in this field will allow for a whole spectrum of colours to choose from in the future.
What’s the point?
Well, customisation is the obvious benefit, but a colour-changing car can have other advantages, including efficiency. Yes, BMW says that the iX Flow can help reduce the car’s dependency on the air-con to heat or cool the cabin. For example, if the cabin needs to be heated up, the roof could change to black, thus absorbing more heat from sunlight, making the cabin naturally warmer. And if the cabin needs cooling, the roof can switch to white to reduce the impact of the sun’s heat. In an electric car, this could free up a few crucial kilometres of range in ideal conditions.
While slightly less functional, the iX Flow could also help you find your car in a parking lot by rapidly switching between black and white.
Will it ever make it to production?
BMW hasn’t given a timeline of when the iX Flow will hit production but has said that it could be a feasible technology for the future. While a complete colour-changing exterior might take longer, relatively smaller areas, like rims, dashboard, and interior panels, could soon see the actualisation of this tech.