Over the years, various automakers have offered windshields that are heated via electrical filaments embedded in the glass. While these do help keep the windshield from frosting up, they can also be seen by the driver when the sun is low, or when illuminated by the headlights of oncoming vehicles. Volkswagen has just announced a (more or less) wire-free alternative, however, in the form of its climate windscreen.
Instead of electrical filaments, the main section of the VW windshield incorporates a transparent layer of electrically-conductive silver sandwiched between the laminated layers of glass. Consuming 400 to 500 watts, that middle layer quickly warms up the glass, acting as a defrosting aid. It should be noted that there are heating filaments along the bottom edge of the windshield, which warm the wiper blades to keep them from freezing onto the glass.
As an added bonus, the layer of silver also reflects back up to 60 percent of infrared light shining in from the outside, keeping the interior cooler in the summer.
The climate windscreen is being introduced as an option on the Golf, Golf Sportsvan, Tiguan, Sharan, Passat and Passat Variant models. Pricing starts at €340 (about US$365), depending on the model.