Modern cars are getting safer, but stronger bodies come with a few caveats. Thick a-pillars are great when you have an accident, but they also ruin outward visibility. Teijin Limited might just have the solution, with plans to build the first pillar-less polycarbonate-resin windshield later this year.
Although they're generally lighter than glass and occasionally show up in lightweight limited edition sports cars, regulations in some countries prevent polycarbonate windscreens being used in production cars. That's because they're generally easy to scratch, and lack the strength of glass units.
According to Teijin, its new PC-resin windshield has a much higher resistance to abrasion and weather than conventional polycarbonate units. Developed using a new hard-coating technology that can be applied to large, complex or awkwardly shaped window designs, the windshield has the abrasion resistance of glass and twice the weather resistance of traditional plastic glazing methods.
As a result, it meets upcoming Japanese standards and, eventually, could make its way to the USA and Europe. It'll make its debut as an option on the Tommykaira ZZ, a compact electric sports car for the Japanese market. Based on the images supplied, fitting the pillar-less windshield to the open-topped ZZ has a huge impact on outwards visibility. Along with visibility, benefits to the polycarbonate-resin windshield include a 36 percent drop in weight compared to a conventional unit.
A Tommykaira ZZ, complete with the pillar-less windshield will be on show at the Automotive Engineering Exposition in Nagoya between June 28 and 30.