According to the researcher, macrosocopic particles could be added to the vehicles lacquer in order to enable the car to change its color. These particles would react on electric voltages and change the reflection properties of the lacquer in accordance with the voltage applied. The change of the color would only take fractions of a second, the scientist said. This behavior could utilize the properties of nanomaterials, but also OLED-based foils could be used for this purpose.
The color change could be controlled by the driver. The scientist said that also "responsive color changes" are imaginable - the vehicle then would change its color as a consequence of an event such as an accident: A car that just had been involved into an accident could then appear in a signal color in order to call assistance.
Despite this shiny perspective, it certainly will take a while before the feature becomes reality. Besides being rather expensive, the materials need to resist humidity, extreme temperatures, and other rough environmental conditions, the scientist explained. At earliest it will take some 15 years to bring color-changing car surfaces to serial production.