Issue: Dec 2002


Heads Up!



Webasto uses electro-transparent glass to create an upscale feeling in the new Maybach.

Designed to satisfy the most discriminating of customers, the new Daimler- Chrysler Maybach 62 sedan couldn’t just have a normal day-to-day roof. It had to have the king of all roofs. Enter Webasto Roof Systems and its panorama, electro-transparent roof designed for the chauffeur variant of the new Maybach.








 
The new Maybach's roof is made up of three layers. A thick safety glass top, an electrically operated translucent blind and a liquid crystal membrane that can be made opaque, filtering out 76 percent of sunlight.
Top on DaimlerChrysler’s wish list for the roof was the ability to create individual lighting conditions inside the vehicle. The undoubtedly, well-moneyed Maybach passengers have to be able to enjoy the same level of comfort in any weather condition, day or night.


To do this, Webasto’s design gives Maybach passengers control over light intensity. It allows the sun to shine clearly through the panorama roof or with the touch of a button, diffuses the light, making the roof opaque and allowing only 76 percent daylight into the car.


Webasto does this by using a liquid-crystal membrane of conductive polymer plastic connected to a control unit, which generates varying voltage. When current is applied, the liquid crystals are arranged so that the glass becomes transparent. When the power is switched off, the crystals lose their transparent arrangement and the incoming light is diffused.


In between the electro-transparent glass panel and an outer thick safety glass panel is an electrically operated translucent blind. The blind can be closed or opened by the passenger. With the touch of a button, says Webasto, the blind’s lower surface glows imitating a white light in 16 levels of brightness. This is done with an electro-luminescent membrane that is integrated into the blind. Voltage is applied to light pigments that are spread over the membrane.


The design also features 30 silicon solar cells that start working as soon as the car is parked. The mono-crystal photovoltaic solar cells provide enough power for the air conditioning system’s ventilation fan to work in the driver compartment even if the vehicle is not operating.


Additionally, the roof is ‘service-staff’ friendly. Push-button controls lower the electrotransparent panel, which then can be opened to an angle of up to 45 degrees for cleaning. Each roof is hand-crafted at Webasto’s roof manufacturing facility in Utting, Germany.


The new Maybach 62 and Maybach 57 (62 and 57 is each vehicle’s length in meters) go on sale next year for more than $300,000.







 
All of the Maybach roof systems are hand-crafted at Webasto's roof manufacturing facility in Uttig, Germany.


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