If the government can fire the CEO of General Motors, pretty soon it will be telling car makers what colors their new models can come in, critics might suggest.
Think it can’t happen? As if car makers didn’t have enough problems lately, the California Air Resources Board is proposing that cars sold in the state come in any color but black. The problem, they say, is that paint colors that absorb solar energy encourage too much use of car air-conditioners, resulting in higher CO2 emissions compared to cars with reflective colors.
The Board’s goal is to ensure that Californian cars reflect 20% of solar energy by the 2012 model year. Unfortunately for fans of black cars, like Batman or the late Henry Ford, that rules out true black as a choice. That is, for now.
Black is one of the three most popular car colors (according to DuPont, the other two are more climate friendly white and silver). And so it seems that demand for black cars might spur some improvements in coatings technology to avoid the situation where you have to stand in the parking lot with all four doors open whenever it’s sunny so the car can cool down to a temperature lower than the surface of the sun so you can get in it.
So, readers, riddle me this: How would you design a black paint that would meet the 20% reflectivity standard without adding other burdens that outweigh the environmental benefit (toxicity or weight, for example)?
Please enlighten us in the comment section.