Nissan tests self-cleaning paint that could make car washes obsolete

Nissan tests self-cleaning paint that could make car washes obsolete

During this vile, never-ending winter, motorists had three options to keep their cars clean: Shell out on regular car washes; slave away in the cold, wind and snow washing it yourself, or screw it and just drive a dirty car. I, like many, chose the last option. But if only I'd been able to test Nissan's self-cleaning car, all my troubles would have washed away.

Nissan revealed today that it's testing a super-hydrophobic and oleophobic paint, impervious to water and oils. The technology, sold by UltraTech under the name of Ultra-Ever Dry, is in prototype form as applied by the carmaker's European engineers on a Nissan Note. In many ways, it works like Rain X (where the solution's polymers react with pores in the windshield glass to create a barrier that repels precipitation). Ultra-Ever dry creates a layer of air between the paint and environment; when mud, dirt or oils touch the surface, it rolls off leaving a clean, streak-free appearance.

Water-resistant coatings aren't new, and Nissan has offered a self-healing product (Scratch Shield) on its cars for years. Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands have been developing a surface coating that not only repels precipitation like Rain X, but combines the self-healing aspects of Scratch Shield. In 2012, those same researchers expected to be six to eight years away from a production-ready product.

The paint being tested by Nissan is ready for production, and as you can see in the images and video, it appears to do its job as intended. No plans are being made to include the paint as standard on future Nissan vehicles; however, the Japanese automaker says it might sell the technology as an add-on — or perhaps as the ultimate in special dealer-pitched coatings.

The cost of the paint has not been revealed – or how long its repellant features lasts before needing a re-coat (Scratch Shield lasts around 3 years). Something so simple makes you wonder why we aren't already driving self-cleaning cars. Nissan looks set to make that vision a reality. After this winter, my wife will be thrilled.