People look at a BMW iX Flow prototype at the BMW booth during the CES tech show, Wednesday, January 5, 2022, in Las Vegas. iX Flow is a system that replaces regular car paint with E Ink technology that allows the car to change color and design.
Joe Boglevich | AP
BMW doesn’t want future buyers to have to worry about the color of their next car or the movies being shown in a theater.
At this week’s CES technology conference, the German automaker revealed a new concept vehicle called the iX Flow with an “E Ink” that can change colors. It also showcased a new 31-inch in-car display “BMW Theater Screen” with Amazon Fire TV that is expected to go into production cars in the future.
Fluid color changes are made possible by a specially developed body wrap similar to the material used in the Amazon Kindle E-Reader designed specifically for all-electric vehicle lines. When stimulated by electrical signals, the electrophoresis technology brings different color pigments to the surface, causing the body’s skin to take on the desired colour, according to BMW.
BMW iX Flow features e-ink
Stella Clark, project lead for the BMW iX Flow featuring the E Ink, said the color change is “kind of crazy” but it could also offer “some useful use cases”. It offers more self-expression, she said, and can display messages like charging status and flash if you can’t find it in a crowded parking lot.
“We see a lot of reasonable use cases behind it,” she said during a media briefing.
The actual vehicle is BMW’s new iX electric SUV but the color-changing technology won’t be ready for show anytime soon. Clark said the color-changing technology is not due to go into production at this time but there may be a “road” to it in the future
Automakers routinely use concept vehicles to gauge customer interest or demonstrate potential technologies or the future direction of a vehicle or brand.
The BMW iX Flow featuring E Ink can only change colors by a scale of white, gray and black, but officials said the technology could theoretically offer other colors.
“BMW Theater Screen” is a 31″ panoramic display in 32:9 format with Smart TV functions and resolution up to 8K.
BMW officials said the “BMW Theater Screen” is much closer to production. It has a 31 inch panoramic display in 32:9 format with smart TV functions and resolution up to 8K. The screen is lowered from the lining of the car to appear in the back row.
“We are developing immersive digital experiences for ultimate driving pleasure. In theater mode, the back of the interior is transformed into a private cinema,” said Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, in a statement. “With a 31-inch screen, 5G connectivity, 8K resolution, surround sound and single broadcast software, an unprecedented experience is created that sets new standards for in-car entertainment.”
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