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In brief: While companies like Qualcomm, Tesla, Ford, or Hyundai are talking more about all-electric vehicles and advanced self-driving systems—both in and out of CES—BMW’s concept car at the event this year brings something else entirely. If its color-changing technology makes it into real cars, it could have tangible uses outside of just looking flashy.
BMW and E Ink revealed the BMW iX Flow concept at CES this week, an SUV covered in E Ink’s Prism ePaper, which lets it change colors. E Ink, a company specializing in low-power displays and ePaper, developed Prism as a wallpaper of sorts that can be programmed to display different things. BMW says it could increase personalization options or make the car more noticeable in certain conditions (below).
The iX Flow shown at CES can only change between black and white, but those two colors alone could benefit the car's energy consumption and climate controls. On hot sunny days, the vehicle could turn white to reflect sunlight and more easily stay cool. On cold days it could turn black to absorb sunlight and more efficiently heat the interior. E Ink doesn't display any light itself—it only reflects ambient light—and it only uses energy when changing colors.
In related news, Qualcomm showed off a digital chassis system at CES and is partnering with BMW to use some of its digital chassis functions starting with 2025 models.