Feb. 24, 2016

Toyota's New Paint Tech Gives Prius Drivers a (Literally) Cooler Option


Toyota's new paint tech

Combining a sporty design and dynamic driving performance, the new Prius thoroughly dispels the myth that it's not cool to own a hybrid. In parallel with the image change, Toyota has developed a revolutionary new paint option that will literally make the Prius cooler―by keeping the heat out of the car's cabin.

Thermo-tect Lime Green is a loud, attention-grabbing hue that is both making a statement and serving a purpose. In this case, the paint features energy-saving characteristics by refracting sunlight, which means that occupants can enjoy a greater sense of comfort within the cabin of the Prius without the guilt of needing to crank up the eco-un-friendly AC.

Toyota's new paint tech

The paint itself has been purged of carbon black, a common coloring agent. Instead, Toyota has applied titanium dioxide, which is associated with bright shades like white. The result is that the new Thermo-tect Lime Green functions much like a white or silver color would, in refracting the sun's heat off the surface of the car, effectively insulating the interior of the vehicle. This, in turn, keeps cabin temperatures lower, meaning that less energy is wasted through use of the air conditioner and climate control systems. This is firmly in keeping with the mandate of the Prius, as it improves the vehicle's fuel efficiency while reducing emissions.

The Thermo-tect coat has succeeded in outperforming white coats in testing, meaning that it is currently the most efficient choice of color available on the market. In essence, it's like a heat-deflecting sunscreen for your car. Furthermore, it exhibits a certain resistance to discoloration by ultra-violet light, which is good news for the longevity of your sunny paint job.

Thermo-tect Lime Green sampled on the third generation Prius

(Thermo-tect Lime Green sampled on the third generation Prius.)

As explained by Fumiko Igaki (a color designer who worked on the new Prius), the technology itself is applicable to other colors, but the "vivid yellow" (as she described it) was chosen to make a statement and draw attention to this breakthrough. The paint was sampled on the third generation of the Prius before being applied to the new Prius to demonstrate its benefits. Thermo-tect Lime Green is one of three new colors made available with the latest incarnation of the Prius but it is the only one infused with this technology.

Thermo-tect Lime Green is only available for the Japanese market at present, and the technology is limited to its debut shade for the time being. Among a slew of initiatives, this is one experiment in Toyota's goal of drastically reducing emissions by the year 2050. This means reducing emissions to zero in its vehicle lifecycles and across its plants, while actual vehicle emissions are to be cut by a whopping 90%. By comparison, Thermo-tect Lime Green may seem like a small step to some but it is nevertheless an exciting development, not only for the Prius but also for the future of automotive fuel and energy conservation.