BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA Changes Its Colors

The essence of the 12th BMW Art Car thrives in the distinctive i5, mirroring the innovative spirit of the 525i E34 crafted by Esther Mahlangu in 1991. Mahlangu, notable for being the first woman and African artist to contribute to the BMW Art Car project, infused the vehicle with her unique style. This electric sedan shares its innovative features with the i Vision Dee concept, notably its ability to change colors through E Ink technology—a feature first showcased on the iX Flow, which could alter its appearance across a spectrum of white, grey, and black.

Unveiled at the Frieze Los Angeles art fair, the BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA, named after Mahlangu’s eldest son, showcases an animated exterior. This animation is made possible by two strips adorned with millions of microcapsules of E Ink spread across the car’s hood, roof, sides, and rear. These strips can be electronically controlled to shift the color particles’ structure, allowing for dynamic visual effects.

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The i5’s unique exterior is made up of 1,349 sections of individually controllable E Ink film, meticulously cut by laser to fit the sedan’s contoured surfaces. This advancement signifies a leap from the Dee concept, with the technology now capable of displaying an even broader array of colors. Furthermore, improvements have made the E Ink film more durable, hinting at its potential for mainstream production, though it remains exclusive to concept models at present. Adding to the car’s uniqueness, BMW commissioned Renzo Vitale, an acoustic engineer and sound designer, to create a distinctive sound for the i5 Flow NOSTOKANA.

Reflecting on its roots, the #12 BMW Art Car made a historic return to South Africa this month, over three decades since its debut. Meanwhile, BMW is finalizing its #20 Art Car, the M Hybrid V8 endurance racer, designed by Julie Mehretu, set to be revealed on May 21.

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