One of the biggest attractions at the CES 2022 show, regardless of technology type, was the BMW iX Flow, with its color-changing “E Ink” exterior. BMW’s new E Ink technology is essentially a wrap that can change from white to black, with shades of gray in between, and it works surprisingly well (although, BMW did have some issues with the hot Nevada sun causing it to malfunction). It was certainly a head-turning tech, even at CES, where head-turning tech is sort of the point of the event.
In this new video, Kyle Connor from Out of Spec Studios spoke with Dr. Stella Clarke, the project lead on the BMW iX Flow, to discuss the new tech and how it actually works. It’s a fascinating bit of kit that not only looks cool but has some practical applications as well.
The way it works is that there’s a low-voltage electrical connection that supplies energy to little capsules in the wrap. The energy flips the capsules from black to white in this case but any two colors can be chosen for this technology. However, there are other variants of this tech, which offer more color variation, though it would take some more engineering to make them work.
Will we ever see this tech on a production car and will it cost of a fortune to do so? As Clarke explains, it’s not some unheard-of technology, it’s the same sort of tech used in eReaders. However, scaling it up and applying it to a flexible wrap that can then be applied to an automobile will certainly take some expensive engineering, especially to make such an application cost-effective. So, of course, it’s possible but figuring out how to do that on a large scale, and whether or not it’s even worthwhile, is step two of Clarke’s process. Step one was making an awesome prototype and Clarke and her team did just that.