December 1, 2023

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BMW brings e-ink paint to life: a different color or pattern at any time |  Leadership

BMW brings e-ink paint to life: a different color or pattern at any time | Leadership

BMW wants to bring car paint color to life by controlling it by computer. Yes. Today the company revealed a prototype, where this is possible. With the new technology, drivers will be able to give their cars a different paint color at any time.

Nick Schenk

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Not only can it change color very quickly, but the paint can also move around to show other patterns or even animations. As if a painter passes over the car from front to back and draws happily.


The secret of the amazing innovation lies in the well-known technology of e-readers. Designed as tablets, these e-books use digital ink and this ink also forms the basis of the technology developed by BMW. Engineers successfully combined the principle of automotive paint and electronics. The paint moves automatically, which the driver can program in a menu, or begins to move after you touch it with your finger.

BMW iX in e-ink. © BMW

The idea came from a two-wheeled bicycle

The creators came up with the idea of ​​live paint having previously worked on a prototype of a two-wheeled electric BMW that could serve as both an e-bike and a motorcycle. To make the two-wheeled bike distinguishable as a bicycle or motorcycle, this prototype was equipped with an electronic number plate. When the situation changed, the license plate changed.

“This investigation inspired us as to whether we can also recognize this kind of change in car paint,” Stella Clark, “BMW iX Flow and E Ink” project lead, told AD. “Using laser technology, among other things, a type of ultra-thin, maximally bendable screen has been developed, which replaces traditional car paint. E-ink is applied to the car as a coating, as it were.” The technology capitalizes on gratitude for so-called electrophoresis. : Pigment particles move under the influence of an electric field.

BMW iX Flow e-ink system.

BMW iX Flow e-ink system. © BMW

A prototype of such a car has already been made: the BMW iX Flow. Its colors can change constantly. “It’s perfect for customizing the car to your personal taste,” says Stella Clark. “And while the prototype is still working in shades of gray, all colors are really possible.”


Really, the extra cost wouldn’t be too bad.

Stella Clarke, Project Lead “BMW iX Flow and E Ink”

Clark stresses that you don’t have to worry about the e-coating getting too expensive: “In fact, the extra cost wouldn’t be so bad.” According to her, there is no need to be afraid of expensive damage repair. “I admit that the electronics make the paint more susceptible than normal paint. But if the paint is damaged, you will only see a scratch. However, it is annoying if the electrodes in the paint are cut through that scratch. Then the paint in that spot will not be able to on change.”

E-ink also helps reduce energy consumption

BMW wants motorists to use this technology to enhance the feelings and personal appearance of their car in the coming years. Just like with modern clothes. They can even modify the paint to suit their mood (happy, sad or athletic, for example).

Through the clever use of light and dark colors during the day, e-coating can also be practical. This includes, for example, reflecting or absorbing sunlight, making it warmer or cooler in the car.

BMW believes that the new technology can contribute to the car’s energy consumption. E Ink technology is very economical when it comes to power consumption. While using energy-intensive monitors or projectors in other cars (eg head-up display), electricity is only required for a short time when changing color or pattern. BMW can’t yet say when the first e-coated car will be on the market.

Watch also: These are the craziest and best novelties of CES tech show

BMW iX Flow e-ink system.

BMW iX Flow e-ink system. © BMW

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