How E Ink Made the Color-Changing Car Reality

Jan. 25, 2023
BMW may have made the car, but the colors come courtesy of E Ink technology.

This video appeared in Electronic Design and has been published here with permission.

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BMW followed up its presentation of the BMW iX Flow in 2022 with the colorful BMW i Vision Dee. Both were made possible through technology from E Ink, which is available now for integration into products. However, most applications will not be wrapping a car in display technologyyet.

I talked with Timothy O'Malley, Associate Vice President of Operations at E Ink, about the company's Prism 3 multi-color ePaper film that was used to make the BMW i Vision Dee possible. While the car was a proof of concept, the film used in this car and the BMW iX Flow are available now, as are ePaper films designed for applications like e-readers (see figure)

One of the main differences between the films used in the BMW vehicle and e-readers is pixel size. For e-readers and other applications like price displays in stores, the pixels are very small and regular so that images and text can be rendered clearly. For the vehicle, an entire section is essentially a pixel that can be controlled. As a result, changing its color renders a large, usually irregular swath with the desired color. Part of this can be seen when the checkerboard pattern is displayed on the car.