At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, BMW debuted the world’s first “colour-changing” vehicle. The BMW iX Flow concept car uses electronic ink technology similar to that used in e-readers to morph the car’s exterior into a range of grey and white designs. “This is really energy-efficient colour 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. 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. According to BMW, no energy is required to retain the colour selected by the driver. “My favourite application is using colour to alter sunshine reflections,” Clarke added. “You could change the colour white to reflect sunlight on a hot, sunny day like today.” You may turn it dark on a cold day to absorb the heat.” Though the vehicle on show at CES could only switch between grey and white, BMW says the technology will be expanded to encompass a wider range of colours.