BMW’s color-changing paint tech may be happening

If you’ve ever dreamed of owning the color-changing horse of the Emerald City, we have good news for you. The color-changing paint technology we saw on the BMW iX M60 in January may be closer to reality than we first thought.

BMW’s horse of another color

BMW iX M60 Electric SUV with E-Ink Color Changing Paint | BMW

BMW’s color-changing car first arrived in January at the CES consumer electronics show. At the time, BMW claimed the show was “just for research and demonstration purposes.” It’s still likely that a luxury car or SUV fully equipped with this technology won’t be a reality for a few years, but new information suggests the automaker may be closer to real-life Chameleon skills than we thought. .

CarBuzz reports that this technology may start appearing in BMW interiors sooner, under the name “E Paper.”

We imagine it would be similar to Mercedes-Benz’s ambient lighting system, which can let you adjust the color of your cabin to suit your mood. Audi filed a patent for the color-changing paint in the fall of 2021, but not much has come of it since. BMW’s LED-illuminated grille idea is much more practical. We’ll likely see color-changing grille surrounds on a variety of BMW models soon.

Is E-Ink Color Changing Paint actually paint?

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How does BMW color change paint work? It’s similar to the technology used in e-readers today, which is pretty cool.

“The surface coating of the BMW iX Flow with E Ink contains several million microcapsules, with a diameter equivalent to the thickness of a human hair. Each of these microcapsules contains negatively charged white pigments and positively charged black pigments. Depending on the setting chosen, stimulation by means of an electric field causes the accumulation of white or black pigments on the surface of the microcapsule, giving the bodywork the desired color.

It’s more than just a color-changing paint job, which can change hue or shimmer depending on the angle you look at it. It is actually a very advanced technical painting. However, there are many questions about legality and costs surrounding E-Ink. That may keep a color-changing luxury car a fantasy for a few more years.

Paint technology opens up new avenues for customizations

Front part of the color changing paintwork on the BMW iX M60 SUV.  Black and white body panels complement the abstract black and white background

BMW iX M60 with e-ink | BMW

We know consumers love customization and personalization, especially on their luxury cars over $60,000. The availability of color-changing paint on a premium SUV or sedan would be a game-changer. Drivers who like the sporty attitudes of the high-performance M-series would probably be happy to change the color.

It might even open up crazy possibilities for business. If E-Ink could cover a full car and have a full color spectrum, companies could have rotating advertisements on their company vehicles. Then they wouldn’t need to exchange expensive envelopes.

Since this is the first technology of its kind, there are probably no current laws regarding paint that changes color. However, if this technology becomes available and mainstream, it could lead to the creation of some registration laws, at least.

Art Radar Journal has an interesting article on the legal issues surrounding car painting and “color change” paint jobs. Color change paint is a non-technical application of paint that can change hue or shine. One of these jobs can cost upwards of $10,000.

This high-tech paint job would likely increase the price of any new BMW that wears it. But there’s no indication how color-changing paint might affect the trade-in and resale value of a model that hit the used-car market after purchase.

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