Nissan has received lots of good press for its Leaf electric car, but the reviews for one in particular are glowing. The car has been given a paint job that appears normal in the light, but glows green in the dark. The glow-in-the-dark paint is said to be made up of entirely organic materials.
According to Nissan, drivers of the all-electric Leaf are increasingly installing solar panels at home and charging their cars for free. The glow-in-the-dark Leaf is aimed at drawing attention to this. The car was designed in partnership with inventor Hamish Scott, who previously created the Starpath glow-in-the-dark spray-on coating for footpaths and roads.
Although he keeps the make-up of his product close to his chest, Scott tells Gizmag that the paint for the car contains much the same ingredients as his Starpath spray. Amongst the active ingredients in the paint is strontium aluminate, a solid, odorless and chemically and biologically inert compound that is widely used in glow-in-the-dark materials. The paint absorbs UV energy when it is light and can glow for between eight and 10 hours in the dark.
Scott says he had been working on a version of his coating to use on cars prior to being approached by Nissan. In total, he reckons it took about 12 months to develop the final product. "If you walked up and touched the car it would feel exactly like a car paint," he says.
He also sees a host of potential safety uses for the coating, such as to improve visibility of bikes and boats. "This is no gimmick," says Scott. "This is a serious technology that is going to be used in an awful lot of places."
Although third-party companies can give cars glow-in-the-dark spray-jobs, Nissan says it is the first car manufacturer to directly apply such technology. If the paint were made commercially available, the company says it would have a lifespan of 25 years.
The video below shows the Nissan Leaf in all its glowing glory.