At the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, BMW had an X6 with Vantablack VBx2 coating, a substance that absorbs more than 99 percent of visible light to create the blackest black. For the 2022 CES, the iX was covered in E Ink featuring millions of microcapsules about as thick as human hair. These capsules were filled with negatively charged white pigments and positively charged black ones to create shades of gray to alter the electric SUV’s exterior finish.
For the 2023 CES, BMW is back with an evolution of its E Ink. Demonstrated on the i Vision Dee, the more advanced technology is showing its true colors, all 32 of them. It no longer just alternates between black and white as it now supports a full-color version with individually configurable body panels. The German luxury brand teamed up with E Ink to borrow its ePaper film and apply no fewer than 240 segments all over the concept's body.
It's not just the body that can have a color-changing finish as the wheels can also be covered in E Ink to make the i Vision Dee the automotive equivalent of a chameleon. BMW touts that "an almost infinite variety of patterns" are possible and switching to a different finish is done in a matter of seconds. As shown in the official renderings, the Bavarians went to town demonstrating the tech, reminding us of Dodge's 14-color wrap for the Challenger.
BMW isn't saying anything about the prospects of implementing full-color E Ink on a production model. The Munich-based automaker does have one of the most generous color palettes in the industry as its Individual catalog of paints keeps growing. It used to be limited to high-end models, but you can now get a fancy paint job even on lowly front-wheel-drive cars like 1 Series hatchback or a 2 Series Gran Coupe. With the latest 7 Series flagship sedan, customers also have the option of two-tone paints akin to Rolls-Royce models.