At CES 2023, BMW revealed its second generation of E-Ink, the color changing technology for a car’s exterior. The first-gen E-Ink tech was revealed at last year’s CES and, while impressive, was pretty rudimentary. This new second-gen is far more complex and capable. Now, it can change through 32 different colors, across 240 different exterior panels. Which means the entire exterior of the car can be changed and customized. Now that’s revealed, two questions remain: could it actually go into production and what could it be used for?

While at CES, we had the chance to talk to BMW Group’s Design Director Adrian van Hooydonk, who said there are “real world possibilities for an E-Ink production car [which can] change colors, display things.”

Well what sort of real world things could E-Ink be used for? Let’s dig into its potential for a bit and brainstorm what sort of real-world use cases there are for color changing exterior technology

Warning Signs

At the moment, the only real way to communicate to other motorists that your car is in need of assistance is by turning on the hazard lights. Hazard lights have worked great for decades but a car whose entire exterior can flash colors or display messages is even better. Hazards can be vague. Someone might put them on just so other cars don’t hit them while changing a tire. But imagine being able to flash exact emergency messages, such as in case of a medical emergency. People could get the help they need quicker than ever before.

Temporary “Bumper Stickers”

Personally, I feel as though bumper stickers should be punishable by death. No one cares who you voted for, how many kids you have, or which sci-fi franchise you’re a fan of. However, I get that people like to express themselves and add little personalized stickers to do so. But bumpers stickers can be annoying to remove and sometimes opinions change. Since E-Ink 2.0 has 240 different display panels, you could easily make one, or several, a digital bumper sticker that can be changed or removed on the fly.


If you own a local business, there’s a good chance you have an ad on your car somewhere. “BMWBLOG Reader’s Pest Control” or “Johnny ‘Two-Balls’ Pizzeria,” right?  Well what about being able to change the ad whenever you want? Have a special on mozzarella sticks running this week? Change the sign in seconds. Looking for employees? Add it to the sign without having to get up from your driver’s seat. The possibilities are endless.

Special Occasions

If you celebrate Christmas and the lights on your house just aren’t enough, you can just throw some Christmas colors up on your car. Or if it’s Super Bowl Sunday and you’re team is playing, change the color of your car to your team’s colors. Getting married this week and can’t stop talking about it? Why not burden the world with your blissful joy?

These are just a few of the different ways BMW’s E-Ink can be utilized in the real world. There are surely countless more and I have no doubt commenters will think of some. Will BMW ever implement this? It’s unlikely that we’ll ever see a mass production option for this sort of exterior but BMW’s bound to do something with it. It’s invested too much money into this program, and showed it off in consecutive years, so the project will likely bear some fruit. If so, though, it will likely be for limited-run, highly-exclusive models only.

If BMW does offer it, though, and normal-ish people can afford it, how would you use it?