A new era has dawned. Well for paint, anyway. A decision affecting residual car values as much as it does neighbourhood standings is that of car colour. Be it graphite, silver or gray, the choices are endless. But with the introduction of a new technology using 'paramagnetic' paint coating, the choice won't be set in stone the moment the car rolls off the production line. In fact, the concept is to allow owners to change the paintjob whenever they see fit - whether that be in the car park or at the lights.
The technology works by running a current through a special polymer applied to the vehicle before painting. This polymer contains particles of 'paramagnetic' iron oxide. With the application of an electric current, the spacing of the oxide's crystals is adjusted, affecting their level of light reflection and thus our colour perception.
Cars, being rather conductive metal objects, are therefore the perfect medium for such a technology, with the small current maintaining a particular colour. However, with no current, such as when the car is turned off, the paint would return to its default colour of white, making finding the car after a shopping trip a tricky business indeed.
It may sound like science fiction, but first commercial applications of the technology are expected on the market as early as 2010, with Nissan having already developed a 'self-healing' paint. Make sure you check out our recently-introduced and expanding Technology category.