Change your car's color with an app: BMW unveils color-changing car

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German carmaker BMW has unveiled the world's first "color-changing" car at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

The concept car, called the BMW iX Flow, uses electronic ink technology normally found in e-readers to transform the car's exterior into a variety of patterns in gray and white.

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"This is really energy efficient color change using the technology E Ink," said BMW research engineer Stella Clarke. "So we took this material – it's kind of a thick paper – and our challenge was to get this on a 3D object like our cars."

When stimulated by electrical signals controlled by a phone app, the material brings different pigments to the surface, causing the car to take on a different shade or design, such as racing stripes.

A BMW iX Flow with color-shifting material is displayed during CES 2022 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. January 6, 2022. REUTERS/Steve Marcus (REUTERS/Steve Marcus / Reuters Photos)

In the future, the changes would also be controlled by a button on the car's dashboard or perhaps even by hand gestures, Clarke said.

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No energy is needed to maintain the color the driver selects, according to BMW.

"My favourite use case is the use of color to influence sunlight reflections," said Clarke. "On a hot, sunny day like today, you could switch the color white to reflect sunlight. On a cold day, you could switch it black to absorb the heat."

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Though the vehicle displayed at CES could only alternate between gray and white, the technology will be expanded to cover a spectrum of color, according to BMW.

(Reporting by Omar Younis; Editing by Karishma Singh and Gerry Doyle)

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