The BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA is a unique vehicle that combines art and innovation in a stunning way. It is inspired by the BMW Art Car designed by South African artist Esther Mahlangu in 1991 and features a color-changing technology that allows the car to transform its appearance on demand.

What is the BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA?

The BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA is a one-of-a-kind electric sedan that was unveiled at the Frieze Los Angeles art fair on February 29, 2024. It is named after Mahlangu’s first son and pays tribute to her artistic language and cultural heritage.

The car is based on the BMW i5, a fully electric four-door model that offers a range of up to 300 miles and a power output of 335 horsepower. The i5 is part of the BMW i sub-brand, which focuses on sustainable mobility and innovative design.

The i5 Flow NOSTOKANA stands out from the regular BMW i5 with its distinctive exterior, which is covered with sections of film that can be electronically animated. These films use E Ink technology, which is similar to what is used in e-book readers. By applying an electric voltage, the films can change the structure and arrangement of the color particles they contain, creating different shades of white, grey, and black.

The films are cut into 1,349 sections, each of which can be individually controlled. This allows the car to display complex colors and patterns that mimic Mahlangu’s geometric style. The car can also change its look according to the driver’s preferences, the environment, or the mood.

The BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA electric sedan also has a unique sound created by Renzo Vitale, an acoustic engineer and sound designer at the BMW Group. The sound is inspired by Mahlangu’s culture and music and reflects the car’s dynamic character.

Who is Esther Mahlangu and what is her connection to BMW?

Esther Mahlangu is a renowned South African artist, who is known for her colorful and geometric paintings. She belongs to the Ndebele people, who have a rich tradition of mural art. Mahlangu learned the art of painting from her mother and grandmother, and uses natural pigments and chicken feathers as her tools.

In 1991, Mahlangu became the first woman and the first African artist to design a BMW Art Car, a series of vehicles that have been transformed by various artists since 1975. She painted a BMW 525i with her characteristic motifs, creating a striking contrast between the modern car and the traditional art.

The BMW Art Car by Mahlangu is currently on display in South Africa, for the first time in more than 30 years. It is part of a cultural program that celebrates Mahlangu’s legacy and supports young artists from her community.

The i5 Flow NOSTOKANA is a contemporary tribute to Mahlangu’s Art Car and a collaboration between her and the BMW Group. Mahlangu was involved in the design process and provided her signature colors and patterns for the car. She also met with the engineers and designers who worked on the project and shared her insights and inspiration.

How does the color-changing technology work and what are its benefits?

The color-changing technology used in the i5 Flow NOSTOKANA is based on E Ink, which stands for electronic ink. E Ink is a type of display that uses tiny capsules filled with colored particles that can move under an electric field. By changing the polarity of the field, the particles can either rise to the surface or sink to the bottom, creating different colors and images.

E Ink has several advantages over conventional displays, such as:

  • Low power consumption: E Ink only uses power when changing the image, not when maintaining it. This means that the car’s battery life is not affected by the color-changing feature.
  • High contrast and readability: E Ink can produce sharp and clear images, even in bright sunlight. This makes the car more visible and attractive on the road.
  • Flexibility and durability: E Ink can be applied to curved and flexible surfaces, such as the car’s body. It is also resistant to scratches and weather conditions, making it suitable for outdoor use.

The color-changing technology used in the i5 Flow NOSTOKANA is the result of a cooperation between the BMW Group and E Ink Holdings, a company that specializes in E Ink products and solutions. The BMW Group has been experimenting with E Ink since 2019, when it introduced the BMW iX Flow concept, an SUV that could change its color and appearance. The i5 Flow NOSTOKANA is the latest and most advanced application of this technology and showcases its future potential for customized vehicles.

How does the i5 Flow NOSTOKANA compare to other electric cars on the market?

The i5 Flow NOSTOKANA is not only a unique art car but also a competitive electric car that offers a high level of performance, comfort, and technology. Here is a comparison table with some of the other electric cars on the market:

Model Range Power Price
BMW i5 Flow NOSTOKANA 300 miles 335 hp $80,000
Tesla Model 3 353 miles 346 hp $54,990
Audi e-tron GT 238 miles 469 hp $99,900
Mercedes-Benz EQS 478 miles 516 hp $120,000

As the table shows, the i5 Flow NOSTOKANA has a competitive range and power and a reasonable price for its segment. It also has a unique selling point with its color-changing feature, which sets it apart from the rest.

What is the future of the i5 Flow NOSTOKANA and the color-changing technology?

The i5 Flow NOSTOKANA is a one-off vehicle that was created for the Frieze Los Angeles art fair and is not for sale. However, it is a showcase of the BMW Group’s vision and innovation and a hint of what the future might hold for the automotive industry.

The color-changing technology used in the i5 Flow NOSTOKANA is still in the experimental stage and is not ready for mass production. However, the BMW Group is working on improving and developing the technology and exploring its possibilities for different applications and scenarios.

One of the possible applications is personalization, where the customers can choose and change the color and design of their car according to their preferences and moods. Another application is communication, where the electric car can display messages and information to the driver, passengers, and other road users. A third application is entertainment, where the car can create dynamic and interactive displays for fun and enjoyment.

The i5 Flow NOSTOKANA is a glimpse of the future, where art and technology can merge to create new forms of expression and experience. It is a testament to the BMW Group’s creativity and innovation and a tribute to Esther Mahlangu’s art and culture. It is the ultimate color-changing art car.

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