How does Tesla's new laminated, double-pane glass compare to tempered glass? Does it break easily? Will it make Tesla's vehicles safer?
As you may already know, the Tesla Model Y now comes with laminated, double-pane glass on its driver- and passenger-side front door windows. The refreshed 2021 Model 3 also has the new glass. When the glass was first discovered, people wondered why Tesla would make the switch. Is it primarily to make the cars quieter inside? Is it stronger or armored?
It would seem the glass would keep more outside sounds out of the cabin. According to some tests, it makes a measurable, albeit marginal, difference. In other tests, it seems the difference isn't really noticeable. The laminated double-pane glass is definitely stronger, and likely safer, but Tesla isn't trying to convince anyone that it's armored or bulletproof.
Typically, vehicle side windows are tempered. If you break tempered glass, it basically explodes into many tiny, dull glass pebbles. In contrast, car windshields use laminated glass, which will break, but in a much different way. However, it's much easier to watch than try to explain.
Erik Strait and his friend David have tested Tesla laminated glass before, using a Model 3 windshield. This time, they have a tempered glass side window and a laminated double-pane glass side window. As expected, the tempered glass shatters into many pieces. This would allow an occupant in the car to easily escape if needed.
The laminated glass is harder to break, but it does eventually shatter. However, it doesn't disintegrate or fall apart. Instead, the laminate holds it together. In a crash, it would help keep flying objects outside the car and passengers inside the car. Most often, that's what we want, unless a passenger needs to escape quickly. It also makes it more difficult for someone to easily break the window to steal something.
Which glass would you rather have on your car's side windows? Let us know your answer in the comment section below.