Instead of a physical presence at CES 2022 that is taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada in the United States, BMW has unveiled for the occasion the iX Flow show vehicle with E Ink exterior finishing.

The E Ink exterior is a specially developed body wrap that employs electrophoretic technology, which is a means of using electrical signals to stimulate the material to bring different colour pigments to the surface of the wrap. This way, the E Ink wrap offers new avenues toward customising the exterior’s looks to the driver’s preferences, environmental conditions or required functions, says BMW.

The capabilities of the E Ink wrap come from its “many millions” of microcapsules, each with a diameter equivalent to that of a single human hair, says BMW. These contain negatively charged white pigments and positively charged black pigments, and an electrical field will cause either the white or the black microcapsules collect at the surface of the wrap, thus yielding the prescribed shade.

On the iX Flow, the colour-shifting technology is also applied to the wheels

The variations are achieved through the use of precisely-fitted ePaper segments, where generative design processes are used to make the segments reflect the contours of the vehicle and offer variations in light and shadow. The generative design algorithms enable the required flexibility in order to tailer the ePaper segments exactly to the design lines of the vehicle, said BMW.

Aesthetics aside, the exterior colour-shifting technology could offer efficiency gains, too. Taking into account the different sunlight reflection and heat absorption traits of lighter and darker colours, the shade employed for the vehicle’s exterior can aid in its cabin’s cooling and heating functions.

For instance, heat from strong sunlight and high external temperatures can be countered by a lighter exterior colour, while warmth can be retained in colder weather by switching to a darker colour. This way, using the more suitable shade for the climate or weather reduces the vehicle’s heating and cooling workload, thus maximising its battery range, or fuel range if an internal combustion engine is present.

For the iX range itself, BMW has just unveiled the iX M60, the BMW Group’s fastest electric vehicle yet. a 105.2 kWh lithium-ion battery pack feeds two independently developed motors, one on each axle, yielding a total output of 619 PS and 1,100 Nm of torque. The 0-100 km/h sprint is elapsed in 3.8 seconds, and will go on to an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h. Its WLTP-tested range is 566 km on a full charge.