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Toyota patents tech that can change the color of a vehicle’s paint

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Announcements | Technology
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Toyota has published a patent that allows customers to change the color of their vehicles with thermal energy technology. 

If Toyota uses the technology, they could manufacture a vehicle in a single color of paint that is responsive to thermal energy, the patent says. White is given as an example of that color. 

The vehicle would be distributed to all dealerships as the base color. This method could eliminate the overhead costs a company consumes from ordering different paint colors for new vehicles, the patent says. It also could prevent vehicles from sitting on a lot for extended periods of time because a color does not appeal to potential buyers, it says. 

The color of the vehicle would be changed by energy devices, such as large heaters,  located inside of a bay, garage, or tunnel. Walls or mirrors could be used to reflect the light, the patent says.

Consumers could change the base vehicle color to another color at the dealership at the time of purchase or at any point throughout the lifetime of the vehicle, the patent. 

Typically, a consumer has to pay to repaint their vehicle or get a vehicle wrap to change the color of their vehicle, the patent says. Both options can be pricey and timely, it says. 

“There is a need in the art for systems and methods for more efficiently and easily changing the exterior paint color of a vehicle,” the patent says. 

Toyota was unable to provide details on if there are any plans to use the technology in future models when asked by Repairer Driven News on Tuesday.

BMW revealed a technology that changes the color of a BMW iX Flow with a click at the Consumer Electronics Show in May 2022, according to a BMW press release

The vehicle is laminated in a special film containing millions of color capsules, the release says. 

“When stimulated by electrical signals, negatively charged white pigments or positively charged black ones will collect at the surface, thereby changing the exterior color,” the release says. “By making it possible to alter the body color and display different patterns, the BMW iX Flow featuring E Ink opens up a whole new way of personalizing the driving experience.


Feature photo courtesy of ollo/iStock. Embedded photo courtesy of United States Patent and Trademark Office. Video courtesy of BMW. 

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