One year has passed, why are new energy vehicle owners still enduring the torment of panoramic sunroofs?

Why do new energy vehicle owners still suffer from panoramic sunroof problems after one year?

【phoneauto】Entering the year 2023, the domestic automobile industry in China seems to have not experienced the anticipated recovery. However, compared to the sluggish overall automotive market, the domestic new energy vehicle market is like a wild horse that has broken free, still maintaining a high growth rate. According to the latest data released by the China Passenger Car Association, the cumulative retail sales of passenger cars in China from January to June this year reached 9.524 million units, with a year-on-year growth of only 2.7%. Among them, the cumulative retail sales of new energy vehicles reached 3.086 million units, with a year-on-year growth of 37.3%, accounting for over 30% of the total. Despite the decline in passenger car sales in June, the sales of new energy vehicles still maintained a year-on-year growth of 25.2%.

More and more consumers are starting to choose new energy vehicles. In addition to wanting to experience the “new three major appliances” of “color TV, refrigerator, and big sofa,” the lower purchase price and lower operating costs compared to traditional fuel vehicles are naturally the main reasons. For these buyers, choosing a new energy vehicle model is undoubtedly a way to “ride a bicycle to the bar, save money where you can, and spend money where you should.” Even if the price of new energy vehicles may still be higher than that of traditional fuel vehicles, the future driving experience is incomparable.

Ideal L9

Of course, this idea is not wrong, until the hot summer arrives again, causing many new energy vehicle owners to collectively break down. And the key problem lies in the large glass above their heads.

Although many people believe that panoramic sunroofs are mainly attributed to the development of new energy vehicles in the automotive industry, in fact, as early as 70 years ago, some car manufacturers were “far ahead of their time” and introduced vehicles equipped with sunroofs. In the 1930s, imaginative car designers rudely cut a hole in the roof of the Austin Seven Box Saloon, giving birth to the world’s first automotive sunroof. In 1941, in order to solve the interior lighting problem of the Lincoln Continental Derham Coupe, designers replaced the metal roof with a transparent material, giving rise to the concept of a panoramic sunroof.

Perhaps the earliest car equipped with a sunroof: Austin Seven Box Saloon

With the development of the automotive industry, the interior space of cars has become larger and larger. The practice of choosing to open a sunroof to create more space has gradually been abandoned by manufacturers. After all, if the manufacturing process is not good enough, the vehicle is prone to water leakage, which can also have some impact on the rigidity of the vehicle’s body. Since the cost of opening a sunroof is higher, this design is more commonly used in some luxury models. However, what was unexpected is that after 70 years, panoramic sunroofs have returned to people’s attention as panoramic sky roofs with the evolution of new energy vehicles.

The creator of panoramic sky roofs – Lincoln Continental Derham Coupe

For many novice drivers who are buying a car for the first time, panoramic sky roofs do have a considerable attraction. As advertised by the manufacturers, panoramic sky roofs not only bring better lighting effects but also allow you to appreciate the layers of mountains and endless blue sky and white clouds along the way during your self-driving trip. And at night, lying in the car with your loved one, looking at the stars through the sky roof, is also a very romantic thing. This is undoubtedly a great selling point for young people who are in the pursuit of romance and freedom.

Officially advertised panoramic sky roof effect

Of course, you could say that car manufacturers have exaggerated the advantages of panoramic sunroofs, but that’s probably not the case. Panoramic sunroofs can indeed bring about such effects and become a secret weapon for young car owners on dates. However, just like most advertising copy, companies tend to magnify the advantages while trying to hide the disadvantages. But nature doesn’t care about that. Once summer arrives, panoramic sunroofs will tell you that the most common scenario where they are used is to let you feel the scorching heat of the summer sun inside the car.

Since June, many places in China have experienced temperatures higher than the average for the same period. In Beijing and its nearby areas, temperatures have even exceeded 40 degrees Celsius for consecutive days. The sweltering summer heat has made many people question their lives. I believe that among them, there are definitely many new energy vehicle owners who have chosen cars with panoramic sunroofs.

As summer begins nationwide, more and more car owners are reporting online that their beloved cars are getting “hot-headed.” Without exception, their cars are equipped with panoramic sunroofs. However, even if they all have panoramic sunroofs, the level of discomfort experienced by car owners in summer can vary. Among them, those who are least affected are the ones with electric sunshades. For them, if the sun is too strong, they can simply press a button to open the sunshade. Although there may be some differences in heat insulation compared to vehicles without sunroofs, it can still isolate most of the heat and radiation. Combined with the car’s air conditioning, there is generally no significant discomfort.

Panoramic sunroof sunshade

Compared to sunshades, vehicles equipped with variable light-sensing curtains have a slightly worse experience. Taking the Jike 001 equipped with this technology as an example, the official statement claims that its EC light-sensing curtains have a UV blocking rate of up to 99.9% and also have low heat radiation and low transparency, providing excellent sun protection, insulation, and privacy. However, although this advanced variable curtain may have some effect on sun protection, when it comes to insulation, the effect may not be very good compared to the pure physical insulation of sunshades.

Jike 001 light-sensing curtains

However, compared to the last scenario, the two mentioned groups are still fortunate. After all, there are still many people whose vehicles have large glass surfaces that claim to have various heat insulation coatings but actually have no effect. Under the scorching sun, the passengers in the car are not exactly “wearing a fur coat in June – asking for trouble”. Among them, Tesla owners are the most affected, and the related complaints have become popular content on various platforms.

In order to avoid getting a sunburn on their heads, owners of panoramic sunroof-equipped vehicles have come up with various ideas. Some wear straw hats inside the car for sun protection, some use umbrellas inside the car as artificial barriers, and some owners dress themselves up as ancient “masked assassins” with various sun protection clothing, giving off a feeling of being a chivalrous driver. There are even those who creatively use waste materials, directly sticking old newspapers onto the panoramic sunroof to achieve a sunshade effect. Of course, doing so may not meet high expectations in terms of the car’s aesthetics, but compared to suffering from sun exposure, what does it matter?

In order to prevent brainstorms from various netizens, complaints about panoramic sunroofs have been appearing since last summer. However, after a year, this situation does not seem to have been resolved. In addition to the car owners who have already fallen into the pit, more car owners have joined the condemnation army this summer. So why do some car companies still not make improvements despite these user complaints?

In fact, for these new energy vehicle companies, they also feel helpless. “It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s that I really can’t!” The reason why many new energy vehicle companies choose panoramic sunroofs is because they want to create a spacious feeling inside the car as much as possible. Due to the addition of the power battery, the chassis thickness of a general electric vehicle is higher than that of a regular fuel vehicle. When the vehicle height is certain, a thicker chassis will inevitably encroach on the interior space, and the higher seat cushions due to the battery pack will further reduce the head space for passengers. Especially for sedans with low height, the head space will become more cramped.

If the vehicle is also equipped with an electric sunshade at this time, due to the certain thickness of the electric sunshade itself, it will make the already limited head space even more cramped. Once the height of the rear passengers is slightly higher, it may even lead to the possibility of “head shaving”. Therefore, even though models like the ZERUN C11 and the new NIO ES6 have already been equipped with electric sunshades, they are all SUV models with relatively more spacious head space.

The Zero Run C11 comes with electric sunshades as standard.

In addition to space limitations, cost is also a factor that car manufacturers need to consider. According to a research report by Ping An Securities, the cost of ordinary panoramic sunroof glass is around 1000 yuan, while coated sunroof glass costs between 1500 yuan and 2000 yuan. The cost of a regular panoramic sunroof is about 3000 yuan. Adding electric sunshades would increase the cost even further. Apart from the increased cost, the addition of new electronic devices such as motors for the electric sunshades may also lead to reliability issues due to frequent use, which would further increase the vehicle’s after-sales cost.

However, if businesses withstand the pressure and do not provide such features as standard, but instead follow Apple’s approach to phone chargers by making them optional, they can not only save on related hardware costs but also make additional profits through later official high markups. Tesla understands this very well. Although it claims in its promotion that its glass roof can effectively isolate heat and radiation, a glance at its official website reveals that the 790 yuan manual sunshade, which is officially launched, appears in the best-selling accessories column of the Model Y.

Tesla sunshades are hot-selling products

In the eyes of manufacturers, cost saving is definitely a priority, especially when many domestic new energy vehicle companies are still facing huge losses. Even if the vehicles are not equipped with sunshades, car owners may complain online, but they cannot really do anything to the car manufacturers. Meanwhile, more and more new users will choose new energy vehicles and become the main force of complaints next year. If they cannot tolerate it, they will still find ways to achieve sun protection and heat insulation. Therefore, what significant loss can car manufacturers really suffer?

Using newspapers as sunshades can be considered “environmentally friendly and economical”.

For us as consumers, the best way to avoid such situations from escalating is to vote with our feet. If you care about this, it’s best to find out if your desired vehicle offers an electric sunshade option for the panoramic sunroof before purchasing a car. If you really care about this, it’s better to choose an SUV model, as they have more space and more models equipped with sunshades. Even if it is not provided from the factory, you can still install it later.

For those who have already purchased a car without a sunshade, the best way to protect against sunburn in the summer is to install this “top-notch equipment”. Whether it is electric or manual, a sunshade is the best choice for blocking heat. If the interior space of the car does not bother you, applying a layer of heat-insulating film or sunshade film is also one solution. Although it is not as effective as a sunshade, it can still improve the experience inside the car compared to bare glass.

Of course, the best solution is to directly choose a vehicle without a panoramic sunroof. However, with the increasing popularity of new energy vehicles, it seems to be increasingly difficult to find such a new model.

We will continue to update Phone&Auto; if you have any questions or suggestions, please contact us!


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