Mercedes-Benz will introduce a new breed of “switchable” glass roof as an optional extra on the new SLK next year.
The panoramic vario-roof with MAGIC SKY CONTROL can – aside from being quite a mouthful – either be darkened or made transparent at the touch of a button.
Based on the physics of a plate condenser, when the glass structure of the roof is subjected to an electric voltage, particles in the structure position themselves so that light is able to pass through. If there is no voltage the particles position themselves randomly, darkening the glass and partially blocking the light. This allows the transparency of the glass to be altered at the touch of a button located in the vehicle’s overhead console which controls a converter integrated into the front section of the roof.
Mercedes says the roof is designed to provide an “open-air experience during cold weather” as well as offering shade to prevent the interior of the car from heating up in direct sunlight. Protecting the chrome domes of people like myself the roof will still block UV and infrared rays in transparent mode, while insulation reportedly increases significantly and noticeably in darkened mode, keeping interior parts such as armrests cooler by up to 10 degrees Celsius (50 F) compared with conventional green glass.