When stimulated by electrical signals controlled by a phone app, the material brings different pigments to the surface, causing the car to take on a different tone or design.
In the future, shifting would also be controlled with a button on the car’s panel or, perhaps, even with hand gestures, Clarke said.
According to BMW, no energy is needed to maintain the color selected by the driver.
“My favorite case is using color to influence reflections in sunlight,” Clarke said. “On a hot sunny day like today, you can change the color white to reflect the sunlight. On a cold day, you can change it to black to absorb the heat.”
Although the vehicle on display at CES could only toggle between gray and white, the technology will be expanded to cover a spectrum of colors, according to BMW.