Mixed Industry Reactions to End of California Auto Glass Regulations
Development; CARB Says New Rule Will Be Released Later This Year
April 1, 2010
A mixed response has come from across the industry since the announcement
on Friday that the work on California auto glass regulations, developed
early last year, has come to an end. Many glass manufacturers had
supported the development of the regulations, which called for reflective
glass in vehicles with the model year of 2012 or later, noting they
might have helped the promotion of value-added glass, while some
repair industry representatives had expressed concerns previously
about the regulations and the issues that might come about by repairing
certain types of reflective glass. (CLICK
HERE for related story.)
In light of the announcement, Rob Vandal, director of advanced
product development for Guardian Automotive, says many manufacturers
had already put a great deal of work into getting ready for the
enactment of the regulations, as they were officially passed by
the California Air Resources Board (CARB) last June.
"Normally after Board approval, which occurred last June,
the regulations end up being adopted after the appropriate edits
and comments periods have passed," says Vandal. "In this
case, this late cancellation is particularly difficult for the supply
base as the
proverbial horse had already left the barn. In order to be prepared
for 2012 model year the suppliers and OEMs had already made investments
and prototypes. These investments are now in question, along with
any jobs they created."
While CARB representatives have said they will now develop a performance-based
regulation instead of focusing solely on auto glass, Vandal says
he believes this was already what was in the works.
"The comment is made often that this was not a 'performance-based'
regulation," he says. "I must disagree in that it specified
the performance requirements for solar transmission of glazing,
[and] nothing else, much like today's building codes. It did not
specify any materials or processes to be used, just the solar performance
level. There were competing technologies available to meet the goal."
CARB had attributed the cancellation in part to concerns about
electronic interference. However, Pittsburgh Glass Works' Mukesh
Rustagi says he doesn't believe this would have been an issue, based
on vehicles in use throughout the world.
"The issue of interference with electronic signals is a red
herring that was brought out by some opposition groups," he
says. "Reflective glazing has been used in [more than] a hundred
million vehicles around the world and there have been no issues
of electronic signal interference. European automakers offer the
reflective glazing in a wide variety of vehicles and European consumers
have been benefiting from this technology for many years. In addition,
there are after-market reflective films that use the same technology,
and these films have been used in millions of vehicles around the
world. The consumers that use these aftermarket films do so voluntarily."
He adds, "We are certainly disappointed with CARB backing away
from this important regulation that would have been good for the
consumer, good for the country, and good for the environment. The
most disappointing part is that the decision to back away was based
on a technically faulty report from one source."
SuperGlass Windshield Repair president David Casey had been in
contact with CARB as a representative of the National Windshield
Repair Association about how the regulations might impact windshield
repair in the state; he previously advised glassBYTEs.com/AGRR
magazine that he had fears about the requirements and what would
happen to repair if manufacturers chose to place the reflective
coating on Surface No. 2 of the glass (CLICK
HERE for related story).
"Even though there were a number of reasons that the 'cool
glass' bill was terminated by CARB, I was very gratified that the
director was open to hearing about the repair issue with the coated
glass," says Casey in response to last week's announcement.
"She was concerned and did raise the issue with manufacturers.
I commend the CARB board for looking beyond the immediate goal to
include the long-term effects of the bill in their decision."
CARB released further information late Tuesday about its decision
to cease work on the auto glass regulations, pointing out that the
group was running out of time to finalize the rule. The Board had
announced in February that the final draft of the regulations since
the December public comment period, would be released in March.
HERE for related story.)
"It was determined that insufficient time remained on the
rulemaking calendar to achieve consensus on the rule, particularly
with regard to perceived problems with metallic glazing and the
operation of cell phones and GPS ankle bracelets," writes CARB.
"Because consensus could not be reached within the timeframe
required, the 15-day notice for Cool Cars will not be issued. The
result is that the Cool Cars regulation, while approved by the Board
in June 2009, will not become law."
It continues, "In its place staff will work to incorporate
a performance-based approach to cooling vehicle interiors into the
next iteration of the light-duty motor vehicle greenhouse gas regulations
for 2017 and later model years. This next phase of the motor vehicle
greenhouse gas emission regulations will be linked with the formerly
separate standards setting specific toxic and criteria tailpipe
emissions limits (Low Emission Vehicle or LEV standards) into a
single regulatory framework for advanced clean cars."
The group expects to release a new regulation during a hearing
later this year, and hopes to phase in the greenhouse gas portion
of the rule in the 2017 model year.
"At this time, it is unclear what form the performance-based
approach to cooling vehicle interiors will take in the new rules,"
writes CARB. "As a result, all activity by the Cool Cars performance
option workgroups will cease. Instead, the public may participate
in the development of the performance metric for cooling vehicle
interiors as part of the regulatory development for advanced clean
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