There a lot of factors to take into consideration when vehicle shopping. Of course you want a car that is as reliable as it is impressive. Thanks to auto giants BMW the redesigned Mini Cooper is both. Years have gone by since the German company relaunched this classic British stalwart and still the little buggers still turn heads on the road with their funky headlights and compact design. The great gas mileage and easy handling are bonuses too. But the Mini Chameleon goes one step further. It can change colors. No, this isn’t a late April Fools, or the imaginings of a drunken mind. The Mini Chameleon will be making its’ public debut at the Mini Habitat in Singapore on June 30th 2009.
The color change is a result of using temperature and moisture sensitive paint that is already employed in some toy cars and t shirts called Feint Paint, developed in Spain by Payola Forlids. Feint Paint is liquid crystal based and Payola had to tweak its original formula considerably to ensure that the paint was tough enough to stand up to the rigors of driving in all weather conditions and still remain functional and attractive.
Apart from the obvious “woah” factor, the color changing paint really does have its’ practical uses when employed on the Mini Chameleon. On rainy days the paint brightens, increasing the car’s visibility to others on the road, while on particularly hot, sunny days the finish lightens dramatically to cool both the engine and the car’s interior. Because the paint is so sensitive to changes in both the environment around it and conditions within the car itself a darkening hood can signal that the engine is beginning to overheat. . The color change can actually occur in seconds, perhaps making the Mini Chameleon the perfect everyday vehicle for those likely to be involved in car chases with the local police.
This funky new Mini Chameleon is not yet slated for release in the US or European markets, but as BMW does not hold the patent on Feint Paint, the technology is may soon be readily available to any auto maker who wants to give this idea a go. If the concept of color changing cars does take off though, expect mass panic in the mall parking lot as car owners try desperately to figure out where, and what color, their chameleon cars are today.