A new California regulation will require vehicle manufacturers to reduce heat absorption through vehicle glass by using reflective glazing on 2012 model year vehicles. Deemed the “Cool Cars” law, its purpose is to reduce the interior temperatures, thus reducing the demand on vehicle air conditioning systems and (in theory, at least) reducing greenhouse gasses.
Problem: the reflective glazing blocks solar radiation, but it also blocks signals from cell phones (a good thing, unless you’re dialing 911) and GPS-tracking devices worn by felons (a bad thing). Forget about using windshield mounted transponders for toll booths or security gates, because they won’t work through the reflective glazing, either.
Automotive paint and glass technology is expected to improve by 2015, so the California Air Resources Board is only requiring reflective glazing until 2016. If you routinely use a cell phone or a toll transponder in your car, you may want to hold on to that 2011 model a few years longer than usual. On the other hand, if you’re planning on fleeing the police with an ankle transponder in place, the 2012 models may be looking rather attractive.