Digitisation is delivering an integrated user experience in the interior of current BMW models. The My Modes allow the driver to tailor the atmosphere in the interior entirely to their personal mood and the driving experience they want. With the BMW iX Flow featuring E Ink , BMW is offering the prospect of a future technology that uses digitisation to also adapt the exterior of a vehicle to individual wishes. The surface of the BMW iX Flow featuring E Ink can vary its shade prompted by the driver.
Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development: "Digital experiences won't just be limited to displays in the future. There will be more and more melding of the real and virtual. With the BMW iX Flow, we are bringing the car body to life."
The fluid colour changes are made possible by a specially developed body wrap that is tailored to the contours of the all-electric Sports Activity Vehicle from BMW. When stimulated by electrical signals, the electrophoretic technology brings different colour pigments to the surface, causing the body skin to take on the desired colouration. For further information see the IDTechEx report on Conductive Ink Markets 2020-2030: Forecasts, Technologies, Players.
Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design: "The BMW iX Flow is an advanced research and design project and a great example of the forward thinking that BMW is known for."
New technologies will provide a whole new level of decision-making freedom in the future. "This gives the driver the freedom to express different facets of their personality or even their enjoyment of change outwardly, and to redefine this each time they sit into their car," says Stella Clarke, Head of Project for the BMW iX Flow featuring E Ink. "Similar to fashion or the status ads on social media channels, the vehicle then becomes an expression of different moods and circumstances in daily life."
E Ink technology is extremely energy efficient. Unlike displays or projectors, the electrophoretic technology needs absolutely no energy to keep the chosen colour state constant. Current only flows during the short colour changing phase.
Electrophoretic colouring is based on a technology developed by E Ink that is most well-known from the displays used in eReaders. The surface coating of the BMW iX Flow featuring E Ink contains many millions of 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 chosen setting, stimulation by means of an electrical field causes either the white or the black pigments to collect at the surface of the microcapsule, giving the car body the desired shade.
Achieving this effect on a vehicle body involves the application of many precisely fitted ePaper segments. Generative design processes are implemented to ensure the segments reflect the characteristic contours of the vehicle and the resulting variations in light and shadow. The generative design algorithms enable the necessary formability and flexibility required to tailor the ePaper exactly to the design lines of the vehicle.
Laser cutting technologies guarantee high precision in generating each segment. After the segments are applied and the power supply for stimulating the electrical field is connected, the entire body is warmed and sealed to guarantee optimum and uniform colour reproduction during every colour change.
Source and top image: BMW Group