Fuel-saving windshield

Can the design of a vehicle’s windshield help improve fuel economy? Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries thinks so – between 2% and 4%, according to its research

Can the design of a vehicle’s windshield help improve fuel economy? Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries thinks so – between 2% and 4%, according to its research on a new infrared (IR) reflective windshield, called “Sungate.”

Recent PPG testing found its Sungate windshield reflects about 50% of the sun’s infrared energy to help keep vehicles cooler, which could reduce air conditioning use up to approximately 20%.

The windshield reduces transmission of ultraviolet and infrared solar energy, which helps reduce interior heat buildup, shorten cool-down time and reduce heat gain while driving, said Mukesh Rustagi, global product market manager for automotive glass.

“It reduces the initial workload on a vehicle’s air conditioning system, which represents the biggest use of power for climate control in a vehicle,” he said. “Because the air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard, fuel efficiency increases and emissions are reduced, and consumers experience a cooler vehicle upon entry.”

Rustagi added that Sungate windshield technology could also help vehicle manufacturers meet the tougher emissions and fuel economy requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) revised Supplemental Federal Test Procedure (SFTP) without compromising the affordability, safety or performance of cars and light trucks.

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