“SPD technology is smart glass that allows you to change the tint of the glass,” Haray explained. “There’s this film that we invented that has little nanoparticles in it, which you can control with a small electrical voltage. So, basically this film… that allows you to dial in whatever tint level you’d like.”
“The crystals are about three to five tenths of a micron in length and they act as induced dipoles so when you apply an electric field to conductive coatings in the film,” Haray continued, “ the particles will line up, and allow light to pass through. Then, when you remove the voltage, their natural tendency is to be in the dark state due to Brownian movement and that causes the glass to tint.”
As the tint partially blocks incoming photons, it also reduces the amount of glare experienced by the driver and the heat trapped within the vehicle — over 99.5 percent of light and 95 percent of heat, per a January press release from the company. The claim is, this allows vehicle occupants to stay comfortable for longer without having to turn on the A/C, as well as keep the interior up to 18 degrees (F) cooler overall, Haray asserted.
“You’re making the car safer because you’re lowering the center of gravity and reducing the weight in the roof; you’re using your air conditioning less” Haray said, adding that “Continental Automotive calculated that you can save four grams per kilometer of CO2 emissions,” by utilizing this tech. In places like the European Union, where drivers are taxed based on the amount of CO2 their vehicles emit per distance driven, cutting four grams per kilometer can translate into some significant operating expenditure savings — around €380 (~$410) annually on average.
What’s more, these weight and energy savings should translate into longer driving ranges for EVs since the battery’s stores aren’t being used to drive the A/C or help haul unnecessary added weight. Safety and acoustic dampening effects are increased as well — at least compared to a conventional convertible top — since you’re riding underneath a sheet of laminated glass rather than an aluminum roof frame and heavy canvas cloth.
We will, of course, see this technology in the Celestiq once it arrives in dealer showrooms in 2023. However, the Celestiq — operating under the auspices of being Caddy’s new flagship EV — is expected to be a hand-crafted monster of a sedan retailing for $200,000 and up, not exactly what most folks would consider affordable, especially in this economy. However, Haray remains confident that as the technology spreads, consumers will soon begin seeing it not just on more affordable car models but in billboards, advertising campaigns and even modern architecture.