PARIS - 'Heat-reflective' windshields will be standard on several Renault cars, and an option on many others by the end of the year.
The new windshield reflects around 30 percent of direct solar radiation, compared with the 5 percent typical of tinted windshields, according to Renault. The windshield also cuts air conditioning power consumption by around 10 percent.
The windshield has 15-20 layers of silver and titanium between the inner and outer glass sheets. This special layer is less than 50 microns thick.
Renault is the only European carmaker to use such a windshield other than Audi, which offers it on the A8.
The heat-reflective windshield will be standard on limited summer editions that come with air conditioning.
As an option, it will cost FF800 ($140). The Laguna, Megane, Espace and Safrane will successively receive the windshield from June until September 1997. The Clio replacement will get it when it goes on sale next year.
'We aim to equip 30-40 percent of vehicles with it,' said Maurice Bro, head of equipment in Renault's marketing division.
Seventy percent of the reflective windscreens will be supplied by PPG, 25 percent by Saint-Gobain and 5 percent by Pilkington, according to industry sources.
'We will remain ahead of competitors for a while, because we've saturated suppliers' production capacities,' said Bro.