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This Is How Porsche's Innovative Variable Light Control Shields You Against the Sun

You might have heard about Porsche's innovative Variable Light Control system or seen it in action in a video. It aims to provide shade and coolness inside the car. Read on and find out how exactly this new technology works.
Panoramic Roof with Sunshine Control - 2022 Porsche Taycan GTS 6 photos
Photo: Porsche
Panoramic Roof with Sunshine Control - 2022 Porsche Taycan GTSPanoramic Roof with Sunshine Control - 2022 Porsche Taycan GTSPanoramic Roof with Sunshine Control - 2022 Porsche Taycan GTSPanoramic Roof with Sunshine Control - 2022 Porsche Taycan GTSPanoramic Roof with Sunshine Control - 2022 Porsche Taycan GTS
Panoramic roofs have been around for quite a while, and of the issues that can emerge from this feature is that the car can quickly heat up. Carious car manufacturers have come up with solutions such as applying a tint for the glass, but Porsche has taken the next step by using this groundbreaking technology.

The technology is available for all of Porsche Taycan's model versions and comes as an extra. If you opt for a panoramic roof with Variable Light Control, you'll discover that it's matte white in its default state.

When you start the vehicle, the roof takes up the last selected setting and awaits commands. Using the touch panel, you can choose two different stages – the intermediate Bold is 60% matte, while the Semi is 40% matte. Energy consumption for the technology is below 20 W.

Panoramic Roof with Sunshine Control \- 2022 Porsche Taycan GTS
Photo: Porsche
Besides these options, you can use a slider function to shield the light from front to back, just like a roller shade. You can feel the effects as soon as you activate it – the perceived and actual temperature at head height is reduced. You'd think the feature is helpful only during hotter months, but that's not true. During winter, the e-coating on the underside acts like a knit cap by eliminating the layer of cold below the glass surface.

Ten years of research have led to the development of this function. Stephan Wetzel, a specialist in automotive glazing at Porsche, has played a significant part in it. He has been conducting research in the smart technology field in the automotive sector. He said, "In architecture, layers of liquid crystals have long been used in windowpanes to manage temperature."

Porsche has assumed a pioneering role in developing the smart option, which is even more effective than the traditional roller shade. A high-precision test setup simulated 45 minutes of heat comparable to that under the South African sun on a summer day. The results have determined that the headroom stays 9 degrees Celsius (48 Fahrenheit) cooler compared to the best roller shade available. Moreover, more lights are allowed into the interior when using Clear Mode compared to tinted panoramic roofs.

Panoramic Roof with Sunshine Control \- 2022 Porsche Taycan GTS
Photo: Porsche
So, how does it work? It requires seven layers. The core consists of a polymer matrix with a thin conductive layer on both sides, known as indium tin oxide. If the alternating voltage is active, the matrix has a clear view. If no voltage is present, it becomes matte. Each side of the core is surrounded by a safety film and a layer of glass. The outer layer can reflect the sun's heat using a silver coating, while the inner layer acts as an insulator.

Initially, the technology was supposed to have simple, straight lines, but it turned out to be an awkward design. After working with the Design department, the new pattern was developed, inspired by the Taycan's third brake light.

Positive secondary effects also resulted from this innovative technology. First, the composite glass is much lighter than a roof built from a single layer of glass. Second, exceptional insulation is provided regarding the frequency ranges of human voices and music. Additional comfort is ensured, as the barrier works both ways, with noise remaining outside.

Even though the technology has been mastered, it can be further optimized and customized. Stephen Wetzel adds, "We're never done at Porsche. There's more to come – mark my words."

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About the author: Mircea Mazuru
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Starting out with a motorcycle permit just because he could get one two years earlier than a driver's license, Mircea keeps his passion for bikes (motor or no motor) alive to this day. His lifelong dream is to build his own custom camper van.
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