General Motors proposes that electric vehicles (EVs) could enhance the functionality of standard heated windshields.
On July 13, 2023, a patent application originally filed on January 12, 2022, was published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In it, GM presents an advanced heated windshield design. This sophisticated technology would incorporate embedded elements powered by an EV’s battery pack to clear obstructions such as ice, mist, and more.
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Image of GM’s heated windshield patent
Traditionally, windshields are heated by projecting warm air from the vehicle’s internal vents. The source of this heat can either be an internal combustion engine or, in the case of EVs, a heat pump or resistance heater. Regardless of the origin of the heat, the process is typically slow, clearing only a small portion of the windshield initially and then gradually spreading out, as GM points out.
A more uniform heat distribution can be achieved by incorporating electrically conductive elements within the windshield. These elements spread across the surface wouldn’t limit visibility like the defrosting grids used on rear windows, as per GM’s claim. However, GM also highlights that the low power available from the 12-volt AC automotive accessory electrical systems found in conventional combustion-engine cars would restrict the efficiency of such a system.
Image of GM’s heated windshield patent
GM’s proposed solution employs DC current, generated by an EV’s battery pack. As detailed in the patent application, this current would be directed via bus bars to a conductive material layer applied to a glass surface. Since windshields are typically made from laminated glass, comprising multiple layers, this allows the coated surface to be sandwiched between the layers, projecting heat to the surrounding layers.
While patented ideas do not always see implementation, a heated windshield of this type could be beneficial for enhancing visibility in winter conditions and potentially increasing EV’s range in cold weather. It is considered more energy-efficient to use direct heating methods such as heated seats or even heated seat belts than to circulate warm air in the cabin of a vehicle. This principle may prove applicable for windshields as well.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Electrically Heated Windshield
What new technology has General Motors patented?
General Motors has patented a sophisticated electrically heated windshield design for electric vehicles (EVs). This technology would incorporate embedded elements powered by an EV’s battery pack to clear obstructions like ice and mist.
How does the GM’s patented heated windshield for EVs work?
GM’s heated windshield design uses DC current generated by an EV’s battery pack. The current would be directed via bus bars to a conductive material layer applied to a glass surface. Given that windshields are usually made from laminated glass, the conductive material layer can be sandwiched between the other layers and radiate heat outward.
How is the new windshield heating technology different from traditional methods?
Traditional windshield heating methods involve blowing warm air onto the windshield from internal vents. This process is typically slow and clears only a small portion of the windshield initially. The patented technology incorporates electrically conductive elements within the windshield for more uniform heat distribution without limiting visibility.
What are the potential benefits of GM’s patented windshield technology?
The electrically heated windshield technology could be beneficial for enhancing visibility in winter conditions. Moreover, it could potentially increase the range of EVs in cold weather, as direct heating methods like this are thought to be more energy-efficient than circulating warm air in the cabin of a vehicle.
Will the patented heated windshield technology certainly be implemented in production vehicles?
Patented ideas do not always see implementation in production vehicles. While it shows promise, it’s still unclear if or when GM’s heated windshield technology will be incorporated into their EVs.
More about Electrically Heated Windshield
- General Motors Official Website
- United States Patent and Trademark Office
- Overview of electrically heated windshield technology
- Efficiency of Direct Heating in EVs