World's Whitest White Will Make Electric Cars Even Greener

Technology / 12 Comments

It could possibly add an extra 60 miles in an EV of range.

Purdue University in Indiana recently created the whitest white paint the world has ever seen. In the process, it received a Guinness World Record for making it the whitest white ever.

You might be wondering what this has to do with an automotive publication, and that's a good question.

"When we started this project about seven years ago, we had saving energy and fighting climate change in mind," said Xiulin Ruan, a professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue.

Ruan and his graduate students set about this project meant to reflect direct sunlight away from a building. As it turns out, the more reflective you make paint, the whiter it gets. This specific formulation reflects 98.1% of solar radiation and also emits infrared heat.


Essentially, this paint absorbs less heat from the sun than it emits, which means anything coated with the paint is cooler than the outside temperature. And it does it by using no external power source. In perspective, ordinary white paint only reflects 80% to 90% of sunlight, and it can't keep the surface cooler.

With that in mind, it's easy to see the automotive application. We all know that a basic air conditioner or climate control system uses a large amount of energy. In an ICE car, air conditioning can increase fuel consumption by as much as ten percent. According to independent tests, the HVAC system in an EV can reduce the range by as much as 60 miles.

It also helps that white remains the most popular car color globally.


We're not suggesting that climate control will be removed entirely from cars, but the HVAC system would have a much easier time getting the vehicle to the desired temperature. If you own a black or dark gray vehicle, you know how much those things love soaking up the sun.

We can undoubtedly see German manufacturers lining up to buy a pot of paint from Ruan. As we know, the German manufacturers are in constant rivalry. When one introduces a car with 701 hp, the other reveals a car with 702 hp. But now that the ICE is nearly dead, it has to compete in different ways.

BMW unknowingly made the first move back in 2019 when it introduced the Vantablack X6. In short, it's the blackest black. This unique paint finish even absorbs light the human eye can't see. It has similar properties to the whitest white in that it absorbs heat but doesn't necessarily transfer it into the car. The heat is spread across the paint. Vantablack was initially developed for aerospace applications by Surrey Nanosystems.


Surrey Nanosystems turned down various offers from manufacturers, but Vantablack was quickly copied by other manufacturers. They go by different names, but all of them absorb at least 90% of light.

One Mitsubishi Lancer Evo is covered in Musou Black, and a Ferrari SF90 Stradale covered in Vantablack. It turns out Vantablack is even better at disguising upcoming cars than traditional camouflage.

We're willing to bet the paint wars are coming, and BMW's most likely rival is Mercedes-Benz. As you can see, we took the liberty of creating a Mercedes-Maybach EQS SUV painted in what we've dubbed Vantawhite since Purdue University has yet to name the color.

We bet Audi is already working on a competitor color, most likely the reddest red or the bluest blue. In all seriousness, we're 100 percent convinced the automotive industry is paying close attention to this development.


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