Driving in wintertime can be fun but one thing certainly isn’t: de-icing your car windshield and windows. Many drivers don’t have a garage, and a sheet of ice blanketing you windshield is a pain in the neck when you’re already late for work. So you’ll get some kind of a plastic spatula to scrape the ice, and you’ll turn on your car heater, your car defroster, and this needs energy. So you’ve lost time and energy. Could there be some technical solution to prevent those losses?
There might be, Volkswagen has found something. The idea is to apply a wafer-thin transparent coating of indium tin oxide on all windows. You may not know what indium tin oxide, and I don’t, but Volkswagen explains what it does and it sounds good, because it does not allow an ice layer to form on windows. The Germans engineers say it works at temperatures as low as minus 18°C (minus 4°F).
It is not fully effective in all conditions, but as Thomas Drescher of Volkswagen Development puts it: “That coating cannot prevent ice formation or condensation entirely, but it can significantly reduce the likelihood of it happening”. I guess it’s worth a try, and Volkswagen thinks so. This new technology could be available on production models in a few years. Only drawback is that this indium tin oxide coating impairs radio transmissions. So your mobile phone may not work anymore, but it’s pretty easy to install an antenna on the roof.