Henry Ford once promised customers any color so long as it is black. Now, California seems close to saying that black cars can stay out of the state. This is not a racist takeover, but an environmental movement to encourage the selection of cars that reflect light to reduce energy demands.
The proposal is before the California Air Resources Board and the thrust is not color but reflectivity of the paint. The Board, by 2012, would require a reflectivity standard. Before you jump on the “whites-only” standard, it is not as loony as it may seem. Such standards are “technology forcing.” Presumably, the standard would not outlaw black or dark colors. Instead, it would force companies to develop new paints that are both dark and reflective.
The key is:
“Direct solar reflectance” or “Rds” means the ratio of reflected solar
flux to the incident solar flux, i.e., the ratio of the solar energy that is
reflected outward by the paint or glazing system to the amount of
solar energy impacting the paint or glazing system, usually
expressed as a percent. Rds includes ultraviolet, visible, and
“Infrared Reflectance” means the ratio of infrared solar energy
which is reflected outward by the paint or glazing system to the
amount of infrared solar energy impacting the paint or glazing
system, usually expressed as a percent. The infrared wavelengths
are considered to be those falling between 780-2500 nanometers.
“Total Solar Transmittance” or “Tts” means the ratio of the
transmitted solar flux to the incident solar flux, i.e., the ratio of the
amount of solar energy that passes through the glazing (including
energy absorbed and subsequently re-radiated to the interior) to the
amount of solar energy falling on the glazing, usually expressed as
For those of us who primarily look for whether the car can hold a Big Gulp cup and has seat warmers, this may be a bit to complex. However, the manufacturers would be given an incentive to develop cars that would be better for both the owners (not as hot cars in the summers) and the environment. Once again, California appears to be ahead of the curve with the EPA far behind. A national standard would appear the best way to go in such technology. Likewise, it would be an excellent issue for the EU to consider. The key is not to prohibit colors but paint that has very low reflectivity.
For the “cool car” regulations, click here.
For the full story, click here.