February 11, 2009 SEAT, the Spanish arm of the Volkswagen Group, will launch its new Exeo upper medium sector saloon in April, along with some interesting technologies designed to keep it cool in the Spanish sun. The optional solar sunroof uses mini solar panels embedded in the glass to generate electricity which powers the car’s ventilation system, even when the ignition is off, drawing in cooler ambient air and significantly reducing the automotive ‘greenhouse’ effect on a hot day.
There’s no drain on the car battery, and sensors automatically trigger the system when they detect a marked difference between interior and exterior temperatures. Naturally it operates as a conventional sunroof too, tilting and retracting electrically to let in the sunlight, or moonlight, as desired.
Another cooling feature available to Exeo owners is the optional heat reflective windscreen. Using patented Thermocontrol technology from windscreen manufacturer Saint-Gobain Sekurit, the screen includes within its layers a micro-fine film of silver which acts, essentially, like a mirror – reflecting away a proportion of the thermal radiation which would otherwise enter and heat the car.
The screen can cut interior temperatures by as much as 10°C, while it also helps to improve the efficiency of the car’s climate control system – effectively reducing the energy required to cool the cabin to the desired temperature.