BMW has unveiled their revolutionary color-changing technology, which allows a whole automobile to change color as if it is freshly painted at the touch of a button. The technology shown on the BMW iX, an all-electric automobile, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), The manufacturer would not reveal how the coating works; all we know is that it is very temperature-sensitive, necessitating the use of a backup car in the trailer behind it in the event that the exhibition vehicle grew too hot or cold.
The technology was introduced in December, as promised, and caused a lot of buzz. According to The Drive, BMW claimed prior to CES, “on the show [at CES] will be the first-ever demonstration of a technology that changes the outside color of a vehicle with the press of a button.”
The automobile turns from white to practically black in the two films that have appeared so far, and then a dark ripple runs across the side of the car from front to rear. When compared to comparable technology that has been shown before – albeit not on automobiles – the result is incredibly smooth and has a realistic finish after the color is entirely altered.
While the specific process of color-changing magic is unclear, ideas abound. It is likely that it uses thermochromic materials with small heaters to adjust the temperature beneath the material, changing the color displayed on the exterior. This has previously been utilized to make an “invisible artificial skin,” and it has a similar effect to the one observed on the automobile – which would also explain why it is so temperature sensitive. Others have proposed utilizing electricity to display chosen colors using a type of E Ink similar to that used in Kindles.
Despite how cool the technology is, it is unlikely to reach the general population in most nations. Even if the temperature problem is resolved, several states in the United States and countries throughout the European Union need you to notify the appropriate authorities when you alter the color of your automobile. If this BMW ever made it to market, owners would require a permanent hotline to the DMV.
That is before we factor in the expense of repairing one of these — body shops are expensive enough as it is; picture having your automobile covered with ultra-high-tech color-changing paint. As CES progresses, more amazing technology will undoubtedly emerge, so stay tuned for more of our coverage!