New CARB Rule Mandates Metallic Window Coating; GPS, Electronics Affected?

Leave it to the California Air Resource Board to craft another interesting mandate in the name of eco-friendly vehicles. As part of its new “Cool Cars” program for 2012, CARB will require all vehicles sold in California to sport a special metallic glaze on all windows.

Like aftermarket metallic tint films, the glaze coating is designed to help reflect the sun’s rays, reducing the temperature of the car’s interior. As a result, less energy would be needed to cool the cabin, and subsequently, vehicle emissions could be reduced. CARB claims the widespread adoption of the specialized windows would have the same effect of removing 140,000 cars from California roads. According to CARB’s proposal, windows installed in 2012 must reflect 45 percent of the sun’s light, but that figure increases to 60 percent by 2016.

“This is a common sense and cost-effective measure that will help cool the cars we drive and fight global warming,” said Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board. Still, there are a few potential drawbacks.

Electronics manufacturers worry that the metallic coating could block radio signals critical to numerous devices, including cell phones and GPS navigation systems. Several companies have petitioned CARB for “more time to assess the impact” of the film.

Automakers aren’t fond of the idea, as the coated glass could add between $111 and $250 to each vehicle’s sticker price. Honda claims the requirement “is simply not feasible” in this timeframe, and Toyota notes its poor experience with similar glass on Japanese models. Chrysler is also seeking an exception for vehicles with plastic windows, like the soft-top Jeep Wrangler.

Source: The Detroit News