Paintless Car Saves Energy
Energy can be saved in surprising places, but let’s meander a bit first
If you own a new car, built in the last decade or so, take look around the wheel wells or perhaps the door sills. You might see pieces of clear plastic film adhered to the bodywork. If you have them they’re put there by the manufacturer to protect the paint in that area from scuff marks or stone chips. The plastic film is a lot tougher than paint is.
That plastic film might make you wonder. If a stone resistant film can be applied to a few small areas why not the same film to protect a whole car? And why only in clear plastic? Why not in colors?
According Soliant, of Lancaster, South Carolina, the film could be applied to whole cars and in an infinite number of color options, including two-tones, metallics, pearlescents, special effects and finishes including chrome and brushed chrome. Soliant says it can match any color car makers throw at them. Cars wouldn’t have to be painted, just a snazzy film applied, including graphics. Why don’t the big car companies do this? Stubbornness. Slow to change. Huge investments in assembly-line paint shops that they don’t want to scrap.
But that’s just big car companies. Little ones, especially startups, might be more open minded and willing to “paintfilm” a car rather than paint it conventionally. (Paintfilm is the name Soliant gives its product.)
As it turns out, one startup, Carbon Motors Corporation, which is developing and will manufacture the world's first purpose-built law enforcement patrol vehicle, the E7 will give paintfilm a go. In building its production facility for the diesel engined, plastic and aluminum patrol car the company will skip building a paint shop, saving as much as 40 percent of the cost of the new production plant.
And the savings won’t end there. Year after year there will be continued energy savings.
Carbon Motors, by using paintfilm instead of sprayed-on paint, estimates it will save 150,000 megawatt hours of electricity per year; the equivalent power consumption of 17,000 average US homes. (Imagine what a big manufacturer building millions of cars and trucks would save.)
Soliant claims another manufacturer using paintfilm is saving an estimated 23 gigawatt hours of energy equal to 13,200 barrels of petroleum. Further, water savings for the unspecified company using paintfilm is 115,000 tons per year. Using paintfilm cuts air pollution too. Volatile organic compounds (VOC) are reduced up to 98 percent on the production line as compared with traditional painting.
Soliant’s products, Fluorex(R) Paintfilm and Bright Film (chrome alternative), can be used with a variety of plastic and metal substrates including stainless steel and aluminum.
The possibilities with the wide spread use of paintfilm would grow if car manufacturers abandoned sprayed-on paint for paintfilm. Auto body shops could apply new paintfilm for accident repairs with a perfect color match. Older cars could be rejuvenated with a new paintfilm. Body shops would save money on energy costs and eliminate what is now a health and environmental hazard — spray painting.
Carbon Motors Corporation