BMW has just revealed a revolutionary colour changing paintwork called ‘E Ink’ at the CES 2022, the Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas.
Utilising electrophoretic colouring, a technology developed from the E Ink that is most well-known from the displays used in eReaders, the surface coating of the BMW iX Flow (as seen in the images) is able to vary shade & colour at the driver’s choosing.
Stimulated by electrical signals, the tech brings different colour pigments to the surface via millions of microcapsules each with a diameter equivalent to the thickness of a human hair – only using electricity when the negatively charged white pigments or positively charged black pigments are required to change.
The Munich-based manufacturer was keen to underline the efficiency benefits of different colours when applied to thermal efficiency. For example, in strong sunlight with high outside temperatures, the driver may want to shift to a lighter colour to deflect heat away, whilst in cooler temperatures, they may opt for a darker colour to absorb more warmth from the sun.
But, Stella Clarke, Head of Project for BMW iX Flow, also understands the design and fashion aspect may take a precedent:
“This gives the driver the freedom to express different facets of their personality or even their enjoyment of change outwardly, and to redefine this each time they sit into their car,
“Similar to fashion or the status ads on social media channels, the vehicle then becomes an expression of different moods and circumstances in daily life.”
Coming back to reality, it’s very unlikely this colour changing bodywork will become the norm on vehicles, and on motorcycles, it will serve barely any purpose outside of purely outward appearance. Not to mention the potential costs involved.
Whilst the average GS rider may enjoy rocking a strong colour on the trails (or, the local B road) and an off-road colour for town riding, an M 1000 R rider may opt for a bright colour in hopes their visibility is increased. That is, if the colours extend past black & white – I’m sure they will.
Just remember that this is a show of colour, as opposed to the chameleon paint being the next greatest thing since two wheels.
There’s no official mention for the new tech being available for the Motorrad division, either – but the E Ink may trickle down over the coming years.