Nissan is truly doing wonderful things in the automotive arena. The company recently unveiled its highly-anticipated 2009 GT-R. The vehicle pumps out an impressive 473 HP and an equally impressive 434 lb-ft of twist from its twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V6 engine.
Now that development is winding down for what is likely Nissan's most advanced road car ever, the Japanese-based company is turning its attention to more "mundane" matters when it comes to choosing a vehicle: color.
Choosing a color when purchasing a new vehicle can be a gut-wrenching endeavor. Many cars look good in black, but the color is a pain to keep clean. Silver often best shows off the curves of a vehicle, but everyone chooses silver these days. Pick a color like beige, and you'll blend in with the rest of the anonymous Toyota Camrys darting in and out of traffic with the right blinker still on.
Nissan hopes to give car buyers the ability to choose whatever color they like for their vehicle -- at any time. Nissan has developed what it calls a "paramagnetic" paint coating -- a unique polymer layer which features iron oxide particles is applied to the vehicle body. When an electric current is applied to the polymer layer, the crystals in the polymer are then interpreted by the human eye as different colors.
Depending on the level of current and the spacing of the crystals, a wide gamut of colors can be selected by the driver. However, since a steady current is needed to maintain the color effect, the paramagnetic paint doesn't work when the vehicle is turned off -- instead, the vehicle would revert back to a default white color.
If you may recall, Ford offered a similar paint option on its mid-90s Mustang GT and Cobra (Mystic) and 2004 Mustang Cobras (Mystychrome). In both cases, the vehicle appeared to be either green or purple depending on the viewing angle.
Nissan is hard at work on the paramagnetic paint and hopes to have it on production vehicles by 2010.
Paramagnetic paint isn't the first time that Nissan had ventured into ways to improve paint technology. The company also developed a self-healing "Scratch Guard Coat" to apply vehicle paint. Thanks to the advanced coating, vehicle are nearly impervious to superficial scratches caused by carwash brushes, fingernails or other minor surface scratches.
Any scratches that are made on the vehicle are "healed" within one day to a week depending on the depth of the scratch.
Nissan's Scratch Guard Coat is currently available on the 2008 Infiniti EX35 luxury crossover utility vehicle.