The A2 is an electric-powered passenger car equipped with a large SPD-Smart™ panoramic glass roof.
Audi describes the spacious, ultra-lightweight A2 as a "peek into the future of electric mobility" that is "packed full with attractive, intelligent technologies." The A2's SPD-Smart panoramic glass roof is a key element of the vehicle's innovative exterior design. The roof's ability to block the sun's heat almost entirely, Audi observes, "is a further contribution to efficient temperature management in the purely electric powered Audi A2 concept." More information about the A2 and about Audi's press conference at the Frankfurt Auto Show yesterday are available on Audi's news site.
Research Frontiers' (Nasdaq:REFR) SPD-Smart automotive products – sunroofs, side- and rear-windows – are ideal for all automobiles, and especially electric vehicles. Because SPD-Smart auto glazings can block up to 95% of the sun's heat in their tinted state, they keep vehicle interiors cooler. When the vehicle is not in use or the glass is turned off, SPD-Smart glazings automatically switch to their maximum heat-blocking state without using any energy. This offers significant power efficiency benefits because the electric vehicle does not have to devote as much energy to cool the car as it would if it were outfitted with traditional or even tinted auto glass. Lower demands on a vehicle's cooling system also give original equipment manufacturers the ability to use smaller air conditioning systems to satisfy user needs. These features of SPD-SmartGlass™ technology translate into greater driving range for the vehicle and more potential usable interior space.
Demand for electric vehicles is projected to grow over the coming years. Rising fuel costs, consumers' desire for "green" product solutions, and increasingly stringent fuel economy standards designed to reduce dependency on fossil fuels and lower CO2 emissions are among the growth drivers.
Audi joins Mercedes-Benz as 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show exhibitors with vehicles made using Research Frontiers' SPD-SmartGlass™ technology. The Mercedes-Benz Viano Vision Pearl luxury van, which has roof-, side- and rear windows (eight in total) with SPD-SmartGlass technology, made its premiere at this year's Frankfurt Auto Show. Also making world premieres at this year's show are the Mercedes-Benz SLK 250 CDI and SLK 55 AMG roadsters. All models of the SLK offer the benefits of SPD-SmartGlass technology in the optional MAGIC SKY CONTROL panoramic all-glass roof. The Mercedes-Benz SLK, which is now available, is the first production vehicle to offer SPD-SmartGlass technology. SPD-SmartGlass technology enhances the driving experience and supports energy efficiency. When compared to conventional automotive glass, Mercedes-Benz reports that the use of SPD-SmartGlass on the roof of its SLK significantly reduces the temperature inside the vehicle by up to 18ºF/10ºC. This increases passenger comfort and reduces air conditioning loads, thereby saving fuel and reducing CO2 emissions.
In addition to Mercedes-Benz and Audi exhibiting vehicles with SPD-SmartGlass technology at the Frankfurt Auto Show, auto industry component supplier Eberspaecher is exhibiting (Hall 8, Booth A33) the control unit it supplies to Daimler AG to regulate the MAGIC SKY CONTROL panoramic roof using SPD-SmartGlass technology on the new Mercedes-Benz SLK roadster. Visitors to the Eberspaecher exhibit are greeted by two large glass panels that are quickly switching from dark to light with information about Eberspaecher and its control system being displayed behind these SPD-SmartGlass panels. Elsewhere at Eberspaecher's exhibition are two overhead skylight-sized panels, one with SPD-SmartGlass and the other using conventional glass. Behind both panels are high-intensity lights and infrared heat lamps. Visitors are invited to press a button and feel the temperature difference between the two panels, with the SPD-Smart panel being demonstrably cooler to the touch.
In Eberspaecher's press release, Frank Giraud, Business Development Manager at Eberspaecher Controls, highlighted the contribution to environmental protection offered by the MAGIC SKY CONTROL roof with SPD-SmartGlass, noting: "Electronically switchable smart glass is far more effective than classic blinds or conventional thermal insulation glass could be." Eberspaecher uses electronics technology jointly licensed to Daimler by Research Frontiers and its licensee SPD Control Systems Corporation.
Joseph M. Harary, President and CEO of Research Frontiers, noted: "Almost every major car manufacturer here at the Frankfurt Auto Show has been showing production vehicles with large panoramic glass roofs. Even with conventional tinted glass, the solar heat gain inside these vehicles can be intense because of the large amounts of glass being used in today's vehicles. SPD-SmartGlass can be 50-60 times darker than a typical sunroof, while also being adjustable at the touch of a button to be about twice as clear. This brings daylighting into the vehicle to create an open-air driving experience while also more effectively managing solar heat gain. When this trend is combined with the growing and current reality of a world with electric vehicles, and the need for greater driving range and more efficient power consumption by these vehicles, the need for SPD-SmartGlass is even more compelling. Through the efforts of Research Frontiers, and those of our licensees and their customers, the benefits of using SPD-SmartGlass are clearly apparent as its presence begins to permeate – not only in the engineering and design studios of the world's major automobile OEMs, but also in public forums such as the Frankfurt Auto Show, and even in people's driveways."
SPD-SmartGlass is the world's fastest-switching variably tintable dynamic glazing technology. It is the only dimmable window technology that gives users the ability to instantly and precisely control the level of shading to any point between very dark and clear. This provides exceptional control over solar energy while also adding to user comfort and protecting interiors. Available in both glass and lightweight polycarbonate substrates, SPD-Smart products – windows, sunroofs, skylights, doors, partitions and more – are laminated glazings that offer a distinctive combination of user well-being, energy efficiency and security. Controlled manually or automatically, they are available in custom sizes and fabrications for original equipment, new construction, replacement and retrofit projects.
About Research Frontiers Inc.
Research Frontiers Inc. (Nasdaq:REFR) is the developer of SPD-Smart light-control technology which allows users to instantly, precisely and uniformly control the shading of glass or plastic, either manually or automatically. Having spent over $80 million to date to develop its technology, Research Frontiers currently holds approximately 500 patents and patent applications and has built an infrastructure of 39 licensed companies that collectively are capable of serving the growing global demand for smart glass products in automobiles, homes, buildings, aircraft and boats. Further information about SPD-Smart technology, Research Frontiers and its licensees can be found at www.SmartGlass.com.
Note: From time to time Research Frontiers may issue forward-looking statements which involve risks and uncertainties. This press release contains forward-looking statements. Actual results could differ and are not guaranteed. Any forward-looking statements should be considered accordingly. "SPD-Smart" and "SPD-SmartGlass" are trademarks of Research Frontiers Inc. "Magic Sky Control" and "Mercedes-Benz" are trademarks of Daimler AG.
For further information or to schedule a visit to the Research Frontiers Design Center, please contact:
Joseph M. Harary, President and CEO
Research Frontiers Inc.