Written by Doug Wiggin, CEO, Switch Materials Inc.
Energy Efficiency Technologies in Automotive Glass Applications SWITCH Materials Inc. has developed an active-control smart film designed to reduce solar heat gain in today’s vehicles that feature expansive glass windows and sunroofs. SWITCH’s technology has multiple benefits for the automotive industry, an industry that is looking for every opportunity to improve energy efficiency. TRENDS IN AUTOMOBILE GLASS USE Design trends within the automotive industry are increasing the amount of glass in vehicles. Consumers have a growing preference for panoramic sunroofs, especially in the sport utility vehicle classes. Large glass surfaces increase the amount of solar energy heating within the vehicle interior, requiring more energy-intensive air-conditioning. Motorized roller-shades and larger air-conditioning units keep the passengers cool, but these solutions come at the expense of increased fuel and battery consumption. 8 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
FUEL EFFICIENCY REGULATIONS In the pursuit of greater fuel economy, stringent efficiency regulations are coming into effect for 2017. In North America, Phase 2 of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard commits to halving average fuel consumption of cars and light trucks by 2025 and restricts automakers to a fleet-wide average fuel-consumption rate of 54.5 miles per gallon of gasoline for new 2025 vehicles. This is the largest mandatory fuel-economy increase in North American history. HYBRID AND ELECTRIC VEHICLES While the shift to hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs) is a positive step towards a greener auto industry, EVs come with their own challenges, mainly the battery-driving range. The current limited range on EVs’ batteries is a significant concern for owners and is limiting the rate of market adoption.
Published on May 26, 2016