A patent application details how Tesla can better insulate its cars.
Your next Tesla might come with glass that's riddled with tiny holes.
An application filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by Tesla Inc. details a new sort of multi-layer automotive glass that uses one or more inner layers perforated top-to-bottom with tiny holes. The layers would be separated by a gap, somewhere around half-a-millimeter to six millimeters in width, with the intention of "reducing noise and temperature fluctuations" within the cabin, in the words of the patent application.
The patent application, titled "Automotive Perforated Insulated Glass Structure", was originally filed in June, 2018.
Tesla's patent application dives into the technical nitty-gritty of how such a glass structure would work, but the basic takeaway is this: a multi-layer perforated glass structure like the one described could help absorb unwanted noise before it reaches the cabin, and might reduce the load on the Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) system.
Of course, "less use of the HVAC system [could increase] the fuel efficiency or battery life of the vehicle," the application notes. That's a perk any vehicle could benefit from, but the prospect of less HVAC use is especially tantalizing for electric vehicles, which face the unique problems of severely limited driving range and long refueling times.
Some fine-tuning will be required to maximize the effectiveness of the glass structure, and from Tesla's patent application, it appears the automaker is weighing the pros and cons of two glass layers vs. three, uniform vs. unevenly distributed perforations, and the like.
So, will your new Tesla Model Y or Tesla Roadster come with holey glass? It's tough to say. Automakers frequently patent inventions that never actually make it to market, and it might turn out that Tesla's perforated glass structure is too expensive or difficult to manufacture at volume.
If it does, it wouldn't be Tesla's first unique contribution to the evolution of automotive glass. The company also developed a special impact-resistant "armored glass" for use in the forthcoming Tesla Cybertruck pickup and Tesla Semi electric tractor unit.