Instead of make their cars more powerful, or more fuel efficient, BMW made a splash this week when they unveiled a BMW X6, their sport utility coupe, painted in Vanta Black. For those of you who haven’t heard of Vanta Black, it is the darkest colour ever created. People who have seen it in person have likened it to looking into a black hole.
Created by Surrey NanoSystems in the UK, Vanta Black absorbs 99.96% of visible light. Normally, light bounces off objects to give the sense of colour, definition and brightness. Not with Vanta Black. The color is unique, because it is actually made up of vertical tubes that actually trap light, instead of reflect it like most materials. Because of this, light virtually dissipates once it hits the X6. What that means is that no matter how bright it is, this concept car has virtually no reflections, making it a confusingly beautiful sight to behold.
It’s creators say that due to the unique properties of the paint, the car looks seemingly two-dimensional. Don’t hold your breath if you’re looking to buy one though. This is a concept piece that BMW is likely using just to show that they can also innovate in the colour space as well.
But while BMW probably won’t be painting any more of their cars in Vanta Black, there are other practical uses of the paint, such as using it for interiors. For example, using the material inside the car could greatly reduce glare from the sun and actually make driving safer in very bright conditions.
Whatever the case, while this seems like a (very effective) PR stunt, it is great to see how new materials like this may one day be incorporated into the everyday life.