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New "Cool Cars" regulations adopted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) could put an end to the Jeep Wrangler soft-top sales in the Golden State thanks to standards so stringent that the popular 4x4 won't be able to meet them. According to The Detroit News, CARB's latest controversial initiative requires automakers to build cars and trucks with windows which prevent 45% of the sun's energy from entering a vehicle by 2014, and 60% by 2016. To meet these provisions, vehicle manufacturers will have to utilize advanced window glazing containing microscopic specs of reflective metal oxide.
Coating vehicle glass with a metallic layer wreaks havoc on any vehicle electronic device relying on a clear "view" of the world outside. Garmin, a leading manufacturer of GPS devices, says satellite reception through coated glass will be degraded. In addition, cell phones, wireless laptop devices, garage door openers, and even ankle bracelets for parolees "may be adversely affected by the metallic reflective standard" as they all rely on signals passing cleanly through automotive glass.
For what it's worth, Honda tried utilizing the same technology in Japan two decades ago, yet dropped it due to problems with radio wave devices. We are assured that the Jeep soft-top won't have those problems simply because the technology cannot be applied to flexible plastic windows. Without an exemption for that model, Chrysler will only be allowed to sell hardtop Wrangler vehicles in California.
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[Source: The Detroit News]