Tesla recently filed a new patent for the glass in its first-ever truck, the Tesla Cybertruck. The patent suggested that the Cybertruck will have futuristic curved windows. Yesterday, Tesla also shared a video with details on the glass that acts as the roof of the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y. “Tesla glass keeps your cabin quiet, protects you from UV rays, and can withstand 4x the weight of the car,” the company wrote in the description.
The video was filmed at the Tesla glass technology center inside the Tesla Design Studio and opened with a demonstration of the acoustic performance of the new glass. You could hear the background noise of the factory fade away into complete, uninterrupted silence as the window rolled up. An engineer (name not shown) gave the tour and he explained that as the designers first sketched the Model Y, S, 3, and X, they sketched it from the front to the rear of the vehicle.
The team spends as much time as they need to make sure that each glass position has the right curvature and is the right size and shape.
“One of the coolest things that we’ve done is incorporate acoustic side laminated drops across every vehicle at Tesla.”
Acoustic side laminated drops are a reference to the type of glass Tesla is using. Acoustic glass is often used in soundproofing and has been coated in either resin or plastic to strengthen the glass as well as improve its acoustic properties. Some key benefits of this type of glass include protecting a driver’s hearing, better operator communication (think firefighters trying to hear dispatch), adding more comfort to the ride, and boosting productivity.
He further described how the Tesla glass was made.
“What this consists of is a glass sandwich. You have a glass outer and a glass inner. And in between, an acoustic dampening layer for road noise, wind noise, that the customer will experience and make the inside occupant feel quieter.”
Another engineer, Antonio, who is a Tesla Glass Specialist, shared additional details. He explained that they combine a 2% tint used on roofs with different types of thin films that have properties to reflect radiation. They then combine that with standard polyvinyl butyral (PVB) that has other useful properties. Some will have acoustic properties and others have solar properties.
“We have to be very careful on what we choose to go into the vehicle.”
The first engineer pointed out that safety is a huge consideration.
“So we work with our exteriors, our closures team on making sure that it is very safe for our occupants for things like rollover, roof crush testing. Then we go into the thermal aspects to make sure it gets the best thermal performance.
“The roof itself absorbs 99% of the UV radiation coming in, so it’s amazingly safe even though you have this large open experience inside your vehicle.”
He also added that the windshield is becoming a lens for the suite of Autopilot cameras located in the front of the car. For this, the team focuses on things such as distortion and working with the Autopilot team on functionality, heating function, and the diffraction of the images that are coming in.
“I would say it’s part of the way that we’re leading the industry and setting the standard for Autopilot functionality and the glass quality that’s required for Autopilot.”
Rare Glimpse Of New Cybertruck Windshield?
Tesla Cybertruck Windshield
Teslarati’s Simon Alvarez noted that although the Cybertruck wasn’t mentioned in the video, it did show a clip of Tesla workers moving a massive piece of glass that isn’t used in Tesla’s current production vehicles and that the panel was easily larger than the glass components used in the Models S, 3, X, and Y.
The glass featured a section for Autopilot cameras and seemed to be different from those used in a Class 8 truck. The section of the glass allotted for Autopilot was very similar to those used in the Cybertruck prototype, which led Simon to point out that this was an extremely rare look at the Cybertruck’s giant updated windshield.
In 2016, Reuters reported that car door windows don’t stop UV rays and that car windows don’t protect against harmful sun exposure. The article advised those in the car to wear sunglasses and sunblock even while driving and pointed to a study on these topics. Although windshields do block the majority of UV radiation from the sun, car door windows do not. We may think that glass has been around forever and glass is glass, but it’s actually important that we see more innovation and improvement in glass for use in things like vehicles.
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