By Mark Kleis
Tuesday, Nov 9th, 2010 @ 4:13 pm
 
Anyone who lives in a cold climate can tell you that one of their least favorite things to do when they are trying to get on the road in the morning is clean ice and snow off of their windshield. Volkswagen knows this, and they are hoping to bring a solution to market in the near future.

The solution, as Volkswagen has found, is Low-E coating, or a low thermal emissivity coating. This coating is applied to the glass and then completely eliminates the need to scrape ice off of the glass. If the anti-icing properties weren't enough, the coating also helps to eliminate interior fogging as well - which combines help provide a much safer driving experience in colder climates.

The coating is being co-developed by Volkswagen, Audi and the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Technology (IST) in Braunschweig.

"We call this a "śLow-E' (low thermal emissivity) coating. Applied to the outer glazing, it prevents heat from radiating skyward. We are proud of this innovation and will promote it throughout the Group. That is because an ice-free window is an added convenience to our customers," explains Thomas Drescher of Volkswagen development.

The coating itself is made of an ultra thin layer of indium tin oxide, which is applied to the glass. It is this coating - not any thermal activity - that blocks ice or fog from forming on the glass. The drawback of this coating, says VW, is that the coating blocks cellular reception. It is this issue that is the main reason the technology has not yet been approved for production vehicles - but VW says it is confident in time it will find a solution to work around this drawback.