Dangerous reflection - Renault Z.E. Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-17-2013, 04:28 AM Thread Starter
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Dangerous reflection

Having owned a Zoe intens for 2 months I am much impressed with it in all respects except one. We use it for local driving here in France where we now live and have a Wall Box charge control unit fitted to the outside of our house here in Deux Sevres. Very few public charging stations yet in this part of France but no matter as most of our driving is, as I say, local.

However reflection of the dashboard top in the windscreen would seem to be a world wide problem in modern cars and not just in France! The Renault Zoe, which in all other respects is a wondeful little car, is no exception. Ok this reflection problem is proving to be downright dangerous. If you drive along a road and there is a shaded area ahead and you are still in direct sunlight you can see hardly anything in the shaded area on the road ahead because of the reflection until you are in the shaded area. Two options are carry on and hope there is nobody in the road you cannot yet see or slow right down until you can see. Neither are safe options. Having searched the web using "reflection of dashboard in windscreen" in the search bar I note that this would seem to be a common problem with many modern cars and is to do with the angle of the windscreen.

I have tried, as an experiment, putting a large piece of cardboard painted matt black with blackboard paint on top of the dash and that solves the problem but looks awful. I note that some manufacturers sell dash mats to tackle this problem but they don't look that good either. Glad I am not alone but why did they not sus' this before building all these cars with windscreens at this angle. Air flow and efficiency are not the only criteria for designing a car. Safety is as if not more important surely! One can only hope that Renault produce a solution soon like a dark coloured dash mat. Don't fancy having to paint the top surface of the dash with matt black paint. Any thoughts folks?

The dash is finished in a very light fawnish grey colour and it is not shiny but being very light in colour it reflects an image in the windscreen which is at just the right angle. It is surprising that there has not been more said about this on TV motoring programmes or perhaps there were and I did not see them. I would not have thought any coating that does not lower the reflected light frequencies to the bottom end of the spectrum like black would have much effect. I can find no ads for Renault dash mats for the Zoe but will talk to the local dealership. Meantime maybe a flexible black floor mat would do the job though maybe too thick. The whole dash does not need covering only about the third that is in front of the driver...................JR
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-17-2013, 04:47 AM
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RE: Dangerous reflection

It's not just the Zoe. I think virtually all modern cars are subject to it and my non educated opinion is that it's to do with crash tests. The line of the roof is smooth all the way down the windscreen and under the bonnet to give strength in a crash. Remember the more upright windscreens having a weak spot at the top near the roof (think crash test on a mid 1990's Japanese saloon). They would crumple and bend there in a crash causing the doors to mangle and the driver to be injured.

The new, smoother lines seem to absorb impact all along and thus don't bend or crumple at the windscreen top. The down side is there's a load of dashboard in front of the driver to reflect sun light and glare. I think it's also a problem with these more open dashboards where acres of plastic in front of you is the norm. The older design of the instrument panel in front of you sloping off down to the windscreen did a much better job of reducing reflection.

Another problem I find with many newer cars is the reflections they give off to others cars, usually the one sat behind them in traffic. The more aerodynamic boot is great for fuel economy but just seems to catch the sun and aim it directly into the person driving behind. I suppose I could gain satisfaction that my car will be doing exactly the same to the car behind me .
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-18-2013, 07:20 AM Thread Starter
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RE: Dangerous reflection

Ok took some photos of the problem and the sun was partly covered in light cloud. Problem much worse than these photos show in bright sunlight!

I want to make it clear that this is not a criticism of only the Zoe design but all modern cars with windscreens at that angle. In all other respects I love the Zoe and can find no other fault in her. However yes it is a bad problem and much worse than my shots show in really bright sunlight. One thing we noticed when we moved to Deux Sevres in France in 2001 was that the light values are much higher in general compared with the UK so the problem might not be so bad there. As you approach a wooded area with the road in shadow and you are still in sunlight you would not be able to see a tractor, very common in rural France, or someone or something lying in the road until you were on top of it when it was too late to stop! The test drive we had in a Zoe was in a car with a near black dashtop so the problem did not show itself then………….JR

Here is a link to a forum post where the photobucket links do work.

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-25-2013, 07:49 AM
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RE: Dangerous reflection

I'm surprised that polaroid sun glasses do not help. This is exactly the situation you would want such glasses.

The dashboard and its vents of my Espace are quite distinctly reflected, but with my polaroid glasses on it is essentially invisible. If I rotate my head 90 deg then I can, once again, see the reflections.

I can't recall which angle of polarisation you need (horiz or vert) but good quality glasses should be aligned accordingly. I think it is horizontal polarisation of light off flat surfaces, so you need vertically polarising glasses.

If you rotate your head and there is no difference in the intensity of the reflection, they're not polarising. If you rotate your head and the reflections disappear, they're polarised the wrong way for this purpose.
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