BMW built a car that changes colour in front of your eyes

The BMW iX Flow can switch between black or white (BMW)

A car that changes colour seems like a pretty sci-fi concept, until you see that BMW has gone and created exactly that.

The all-electric BMW iX Flow is able to shift from black to white at the touch of a button.

It works using the same ‘e-ink’ electrophoretic technology that you find in a Kindle e-reader, only applied to a special car wrap rather than a tiny screen.

The technology uses an applied electric field to separate molecules (in this case, black and white pigments) and swap them based on their respective electric charges.

The German automaker was showing off the car at the gigantic Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

It wasn’t the only impressive motor at the show, Mercedes has also shown off an electric vehicle concept with a 620-mile range on a single charge.

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As well as looking cool, swapping the car’s colour could have some practical benefits – such as heating up or cooling down the vehicle and taking some of the strain off the A/C.

According to BMW, the surface of the iX Flow contains millions of microcapsules with diameters similar to the thickness of a human hair. They contain both negatively charged white pigments and positively charged black ones.

When the e-ink body wrap is stimulated by an electric field, and depending on the polarity, either the black or the white pigments collect at the surfaces of the microcapsules, giving the car the desired colour.

This color changing @BMWUSA #iX is wild! It’s apparently very temperature sensitive so they have a backup in a trailer in case this one gets too hot / cold

‘This gives the driver the freedom to express different facets of their personality or even their enjoyment of change outwardly,’ said Stella Clarke, the iX Flow project head at BMW.

‘Similar to fashion or the status ads on social media channels, the vehicle then becomes an expression of different moods and circumstances in daily life.’

Unfortunately, this colour-changing chameleon car is just a concept at the moment so there’s no telling if BMW will make a full production version.

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