Automakers are currently going to insane lengths to increase range and efficiency. Cars are becoming so aerodynamic that they look like river-eroded jelly beans, they’re featuring incredibly expensive lightweight materials, and some cars are even using thinner glass. Audi has done something interesting with its all-new A6 e-tron Concept by painting it in a heat-reflective Heliosilver exterior finish.
In addition to looking good — giving the car a lovely sort of liquid metal look — it also has some function and actually aids efficiency. The idea is the Heliosilver paint can reflect a significant percentage of thermal radiation. Why is that important and how does it affect efficiency?
If the sun doesn’t heat up the car as much as usual, then it doesn’t need as much air conditioning and air conditioning uses up a lot of battery juice. The less A/C you need to use, the less battery juice will be depleted, while also just keeping the cabin of the car cooler in hot months. So it’s a win/win for Audi A6 e-tron owners.
What about in the winter, when you might want the sun to heat the car up a bit? Heating the car up is a lot less battery-expensive than cooling it down. The powertrain’s heat pump should be able to help pump heat into the cabin, while also removing that heat from the battery, thus cooling the battery down (which is better for performance and charging), and heating the cabin. Also, things like heated seats can be used instead of actual heat from the vents, which is a bit easier on the battery as well.
So keeping the car as cool as possible is important for battery efficiency, especially in warmer months. Which is where the Heliosilver paint comes in, as it adds both style and efficiency. So when you take your Audi A6 e-tron to the bar, you can explain to all your friends that your paint actually helps add range.