BMW’s E Ink color changing technology stole the show at CES 2022. Even non-car journalists and tech fans were wowed by the fascinating new technology, which allowed the BMW iX to change its exterior color from white to black and back again. However, some car enthusiasts, while impressed by the tech itself, struggled to find a real-world use-case scenarios for the tech, other than showing off. So we thought we’d list off a few genuinely useful applications of the E Ink tech, to prove that it could be a worthwhile technological pursuit.
Dealership Customer Service
Ever been to a car dealership that just doesn’t have the car you want in the color you want but you don’t want to order it without seeing the color in person? Happens all the time, as dealers can’t always stock every color option. With one E Ink demo on the showroom floor, the dealer could, in theory, cycle through all of the car’s colors, to show customers what they look like in the flesh. Not only would that cut back on dealer stock, making inventory more convenient for them, it would provide customers a better experience.
Admittedly, the tech would have to improve for that to happen, as even the best versions of this technology are limited to a handful of colors, but the project lead on BMW’s E Ink tech, Dr. Stella Clarke, said a wider color gamut was possible in the future.
During BMW’s presentations of the BMW iX Flow with E Ink technology, one of the use cases for the tech was finding your lost car in a parking lot. With the push of a keyfob button, the car could flash its entire body colors back and forth, making it easier to spot. But what if we take that one step further and use it for emergency flashers?
Let’s say your car is stuck on the side of the road in a snow storm, having the entire vehicle’s exterior flash from your body color to red and back, constantly, would make your car far easier to spot for emergency personnel. It could also potentially be used to flash specific warnings on the body of the car, to help emergency personnel understand the situation before they even get out of the car.
His and Hers Colors
Spouses, partners, or whoever cohabitates and shares the same car, could each have the color they want. Raise your hands, who’s ever bought a car and you wanted one specific color but your partner wanted another and you just couldn’t agree? Happened to me, when we bought my wife’s Volkswagen Tiguan. I wanted Dark Moss Green and my wife wanted white. Guess which color we got?
With BMW’s E Ink technology, both partners could have the color they want and just switch the color back and forth, depending on who’s driving it. At the moment, the tech only works with two colors — it could be any two colors but only two — but that’s all a couple would need. One color for each partner and everyone’s happy.
Battery Status Indicator
This one more helps other motorists than it does the owner of the E Inked BMW. While charging, you can easily see your car’s battery status from whatever connected app it has. However, for people searching for a charging port to use, it could be helpful to see just how close a car is to being done charging. If you’re searching a packed charging station and you see that the BMW iX’s E Ink exterior is displaying a nearly full charge, you might hang out a bit to see if the owner leaves soon, this way you don’t miss the spot.
Also, for the owner, it’s a bit more convenient, if the car is in your driveway, to just take a look out of your window to see your car’s battery status, rather than opening up the app and waiting for it to load and connect. It might not be the most necessary function but nice things make life nicer.
So there are some genuine real-world applications for BMW’s E Ink technology that could make ownership better, safer, and more enjoyable. At the moment, it’s just a flashy tech exercise but, if given the development money and resources, BMW’s E Ink could be a hugely helpful technology moving forward.