California Scraps 'Cool Cars' Legislation, Push for Reflective Glass

Due to some safety concerns, California dropped the "Cool Cars" rule that would require automakers to coat automotive windows in a heat reflective spray.

Originally developed by California's Air Resources Board (CARB) to help the state cut its carbon footprint, the Cool Cars rule sought to mandate a new standard of automotive glass that would include a special metallic glaze coating. The extra layer would theoretically reduce the amount of solar heat and infrared rays entering the vehicle's cabin by up to 60 percent, reducing the need to run air conditioning and improving a vehicle's efficiency.

Thinking the idea would help reduce California's CO2 emissions by 700,000 metric tons, CARB originally called for the glass to be mandatory on all cars sold in California by 2016. Automakers weren't too pleased with the idea (creating a secondary specification for a specific market adds cost), but law enforcement proved to be an influential opponent to the idea. Police officers argued that the coating would interfere with ankle bracelet monitoring systems, along with cell phone calls to 911. The coating could also potentially interfere with signals sent by garage door openers and EZ pass toll systems.

"Stakeholders raised several new issues involving performance of electronic devices, as they may affect public safety," said James N. Goldstene, CARB's executive officer. "After listening to this input and accounting for the legal deadline to finalize the rule, we are announcing that the 'cool cars' rule-making will cease."

CARB hasn't abandoned its quest altogether. The group is now targeting a "performance-based approach" that would mandate that automakers manage the interior temperature of vehicles.

"They are free to draw on any technology to achieve it," said board spokesman Stanley Young. "This could be through advanced windows that keep the sun's heat out, but also heat-reflecting paints, different upholstery, or even fans that circulate air and keep the car cool while it is standing in the sun."

Source: Los Angeles Times

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