Color Changing Cars Match the Mood of the Moment

"Any color you like, as long as it's black"... This famous quote, referring to Henry Ford's "Tin Lizzy", illustrates how popular the world's first assembly-line made car was - and how little choice drivers had when buying one. A century later, a revolutionary new paramagnetic auto paint process is about to make that old quote even quainter.

One of the first automakers to express interest in the new technology is Nissan, and although the Japanese manufacturer has no firm plans to introduce color-changing paint on its models any time soon, it could be available as early as the year 2010 if current projections pan out.

The system works like this: the vehicle's standard galvanized sheet steel body panels are painted with a special polymer coating embedded with superparamagnetic iron oxide particles.

When a low-grade magnetic field is applied to the coating, the tiny iron oxide crystals adjust their spacing and by doing so, change the way light is reflected to the viewer's eye. Dialing in varying levels of magnetic field strength essentially causes the color of the paint to change in a controlled manner. Since the magnetic field must be maintained constantly in order for the color-changing effect to work, it's ideal for automotive applications. Turn off the car and the paint color reverts back to its natural white.

Are we ready for paramagnetic paint, though? Potential problems include trying to find your car in a mall parking lot filled with white cars, confusing police who chase a red car under a bridge only to see a red car emerge, and trying to fill out vehicle registration or insurance papers... but hey, we learned to deal with non-black cars back in the 'teens so dealing with color-changing cars should be a breeze! (via Next Energy News, images via Jamaipanese)

Steve Levenstein
Japanese Innovations Writer

Nov 24, 2007
by Коллекционер бизнес-идей (not verified)

car thieves will be glad

Color changing will let to highjack cars with less danger for thieves. It adds a big trouble for the police.

Nov 24, 2007
by Steve Levenstein
Steve Levenstein's picture

Stealth Police cars?

Nothing to stop the police from using the same technology - imagine speeding past a faded gray sedan only to see it suddenly change into a smokey-bear's black & white!

Nov 25, 2007
by Body Beauty

I agree

That we aren't ready. Criminals would get away a lot easier, but then again I agree that the good guys could use the same technology to work for them too. Neat idea though. 


Nov 28, 2007
by Anonymous (not verified)

it's a hoax. look it up.

it's a hoax. look it up.

Nov 28, 2007
by Steve Levenstein
Steve Levenstein's picture

No hoax - look it up

It's no hoax, check the source listed: New Energy News.

Dec 1, 2007
by darkflame (not verified)

waste of energy.

"Since the magnetic field must be maintained constantly in order for the color-changing effect to work, it's ideal for automotive applications."

Why on earth does the need to waste constant power make it ideal for a moving vechile :?

I mean, we are finaly getting computer screens now that need no energy to change (epaper and the like)...are we really going to plaster our whole car's with energy draining paint?
good grief.

Oct 25, 2008
by Anonymous


Check a couple PopSci Magazines form last year. The concept is real, and it can work.

Jan 2, 2009
by Anonymous

i wan one

all i want for christmas is a new ford mustang that changes colors lol

Jan 2, 2009
by Anonymous


i meant *want*