BMW’s iX Flow is a colour-changing tech demo

Published: 06 January 2022

► iX Flow is a massive, rolling Kindle
► e-ink tech applied to the paintwork
► BMW says it’s handy for EV efficiency

BMW thinks it has made significant gains into the idea of a colour-changing car with this: the iX Flow. It’s a technology demo that’s being shown off at the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show.

The iX Flow is one of the brand’s new iX electric SUVs that has been completely covered in what’s known as e-paper and e-ink – the same tech that’s used in the screens of e-readers. Basically, the iX Flow is a rolling Kindle.

ix flow wheel

BMW says the iX Flow’s paintwork has ‘many millions’ of microcapsules that include negatively-charged white pigment and positively-charged black pigment; run an electric current through it and you can change the colour to your liking.

The tech team at BMW split the e-ink sections into geometric pattern so, when the colour changes, individual ones can be changed at any one time. By that extension, you can even change the colour of the wheels or add bonnet stripes in the opposing colour.

ix flow nose

Stella Clarke, head of the iX Flow project, said the tech ‘gives the driver the freedom to express different facets of their personality,’ and that the ability to change the colour of their car means it can become ‘an expression of different moods in daily life.’

ix flow stella

Other than superficially, there must be some use for this – right? Well, BMW says the ability to change a car’s colour from white to black has big benefits for cooling and heating efficiency. White is better at reflecting sunlight, while black absorbs more than any other shade. Therefore, you can change your car to white on sunny days or black on cold, dark ones to make the car easier to cool down or heat up respectively. Handy in the age of the EV where efficiency is key.

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By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, office Geordie, gamer, lover of hot hatches