Since its trailer released earlier this year at CES, auto enthusiasts have been scrambling for details on Cadillac’s upcoming “ultra-luxury” Celestiq battery-electric sedan. And for good reason.
Rumor has it that it has 300 miles (483 km) of range, state-of-the-art infotainment and specially handcrafted materials that will allow Cadillac to designing each vehicle to “reflect the individuality of its owner”, there is much to be excited about ahead of the BEV’s planned release date in 2022.
But of all the confirmed specs, one particular feature arguably generated the most intrigue: the roof.
The Celestiq’s roof breaks new ground in terms of the occupant experience, allowing occupants to “tune” the hue of the all-glass roof – which is becoming increasingly common – based on the natural light preference desired by each occupant.
Yet while this feature has certainly garnered attention, this use case is just another turning point in the nanotechnology revolution that has quietly built up – especially when it comes to auto glass – since. years.
With that in mind, below are some of the main ways that nanotechnology is being used not only to improve glass, but also to support automatic emission reduction movements and electric vehicles while enhancing vehicle safety.
Cut the heat, save the environment
Reducing emissions is one of the automotive industry’s most pressing goals. Additionally, as more stringent emissions regulations come into effect, such as in the European Union or in connection with ongoing climate legislation under the Biden administration. – many OEMs are increasing their investments in the field of electric vehicles while trying to make their vehicles stand out in what has become a crowded market.
This means they leave no stone unturned when it comes to lightening components, innovating in battery technology and more. And nanotechnology-powered glass is proving to be a surprisingly important ally in these efforts.
For example, according to data from Daimler, thanks to the power of nanotechnology, vehicles can actually stay 18 ° F (8 ° C) cooler than they would be without advanced glass technology. This translates into much less demand for air conditioning, allowing OEMs to downsize AC compressors in their vehicles while reducing emissions.
In addition, in the case of electric vehicles, this reduction in AC use has a direct impact on battery conservation by allowing the battery to devote more energy to actual driving of the vehicle rather than to its cooling, thus extending the vehicle’s range.
Sunroofs have always been a popular feature for vehicle owners. However, until recent innovations in glass technology, they involved significant tradeoffs for OEMs.
For example, automakers have had to make concessions on headroom to accommodate the traditional sliding top panel. Moreover, without removing these sliding panels, the installation of a “full glass” roof would have been almost impossible, as the conditions inside the car would have become untenable for the occupants due to the heat and the weather. glare.
However, by taking advantage of sophisticated glass technology, OEMs can deliver the open-air feel of a sunroof without having to make concessions on headroom. In addition, it allows OEMs to reduce the height of their vehicles by several inches, improving emissions performance, stability, safety and style.
Glare – and, conversely, heavily tinted windows – are huge safety risks for motorists. However, thanks to innovations in photovoltaic cells and nanotechnology, OEMs are starting to find ways to mitigate these two dangers.
For example, by combining photovoltaic technology with dynamically tinted glass, vehicle windows can automatically tint and discolor to safe levels when road conditions change, such as when a vehicle enters and exits a tunnel or encounters a storm. This not only gives motorists better glare protection, but also allows them not to worry about having to play with bulky traditional sun visors while driving.
The auto industry has been hit hard over the past 15 months. However, as we navigate the pandemic and OEMs begin to step up investment in emerging technologies to meet the needs of consumers and modern regulations, nanotechnology could become one of the most interesting spaces to watch in the automotive world. .
Joseph M. Harary (photo above, left) is President and Chief Executive Officer of Research frontiers, a publicly traded technology company and the developer of the patented SPD-Smart light control film technology.