Mercedes Sunroof Can Go Light Or Dark

It’s like being able to open and close your sunroof, without having to open and close it. Mercedes-Benz is calling this innovation Magic Sky Control. It’s a glass roof that uses electrical charging to reposition particles in the glass according to whether you want to allow light in or block it.

This is one of those options that comes at a pretty steep price — “below 2,000 Euros ($2,800),” Mercedes says a little vaguely, suggesting it’s indeed not far below that figure. But the benefits are pretty nifty, as Mercedes helpfully points out in a press release: “In transparent mode it will offer an open-air experience during cold weather, while in darkened mode it will afford a haven of shade and prevent the interior from heating up in direct sunlight.”

Mercedes-Benz Magic Sky Control roof

image via Daimler

The roof, which works with the touch of an overheard switch, will be available on the company’s new SLK next year. Mercedes says the technology behind the roof is based on “the physics of a plate condenser.” Sending a charge into the glass shifts particles into a position that clears the glass and allows light to pass through; without the charge, the particles position randomly, the glass turns dark and light is blocked.

Mercedes did wedge a green benefit into its Magic Sky Control announcement, suggesting that by providing cooling on warm days, “some of the strain is taken off the air-conditioning system, thereby in turn saving on CO2 emissions.”

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.