Cool car regulations

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, June 26, 2009 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) proposed a rule to require standards for automotive window glazing to limit transmission of solar energy into vehicles and reduce electromagnetic transmissions. The intent of the rule is that if windshields and windows are more reflective and transmit less heat, the occupants will use less air conditioning and hence, the vehicles will get better gas mileage. The bottom line would be less air emissions. The draft regulations were proposed to begin in model year 2012 and then become more stringent in 2014.

There are studies which suggest that a degradation of cell phone signal quality will result from such standards, including dropped calls. Opening the car window to improve the signal would defeat the purpose of the regulations. A similar problem is also anticipated with GPS and other wireless devices.  

CMTA joined TechAmerica and CTIA (the Wireless Association) in asking CARB for more time prior to adoption of the Solar Reflective Glazing rule to provide an opportunity to more accurately assess the impact on customers and costs associated with implementation of this rule.  The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and others have proposed staggered phasing-in to allow additional time for testing.  

On Thursday, June 25th, CARB voted unanimously for a phased-in approach mandating that manufacturers include specially-coated windshields that block 50 percent of the sun’s heat in 25 percent of passenger vehicles sold in the state by 2012.  By 2014, all the vehicles sold in the state must meet this standard and by 2016, the requirement will increase to 60 percent of the sun’s heat unless automakers can demonstrate other ways to keep cars cool.  

The increased cost to bring a windshield into compliance is estimated at $100 with average fuel savings estimated at $16 per year.  The adopted regulation allows glass manufacturers to leave a small area of the windshield free of metallic coating to boost wireless signals.  However, representatives for navigation and cell phone companies question whether it will be effective.

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