Why Don’t Electric Cars Have Sunroofs? (8 Reasons)

While there are some electric cars out there with opening sunroofs, many don’t include this feature. It’s only reasonable to wonder why.

After all, sunroofs have an appealing look and can be a benefit to those who want a little extra air.

Let’s address that curiosity by taking a look into why many electric cars don’t have sunroofs.

1. Some Sunroofs Disrupt Your Vehicle’s Aerodynamics

Aerodynamics is most often related to airplanes, but the concept can also have an effect on cars.

Simply put, aerodynamics tells us how easily a vehicle is able to move through the air.

A variety of factors can play into the aerodynamics of a car, including:

  • The shape of the vehicle
  • Vehicle stability
  • Width of the tires
  • The location of opening windows on the vehicle

The last factor relates to how opening a sunroof can cause a problem with the aerodynamics of your vehicle. In general, open windows will disrupt how the air is moving around the car. As a result, that vehicle may not get the fuel mileage, or battery mileage, that it would be able to achieve without any windows open.

When it comes to electric vehicles, one of the biggest advantages is the ability to travel longer distances before having to recharge the battery.

An open sunroof defeats that purpose by decreasing the mileage and causing drivers to have to stop to refuel more often.

Not only does that take up more time, but it results in spending more money as well.

2. Drivers May Have Less Space

The addition of a sunroof can become a problem for taller drivers.

Because of the extra parts required to fit a sunroof into a vehicle, headroom is often lost. 

In some cases, drivers might find themselves up to 2 inches closer to the roof than they would be in a standard vehicle.

When it comes to a panoramic sunroof, not even having the roof open will solve the problem.

This is because the opening doesn’t cover the space where the driver’s head is comfortably located. Adjusting to gain more headspace can also put the driver in an uncomfortable or unsafe position.

Consequently, sunroofs often aren’t an ideal feature for taller drivers. Only the passengers in the back get a good deal out of this situation.

3. Sunroofs Are Costly And Complicated

Although sealed sunroofs may not present as much of a problem, sunroofs that are capable of opening can end up being more of a headache than a benefit.

With a sunroof comes a lot of different parts. Electronic sunroofs have a variety of buttons and wires that further complicate things.

The sunroof itself can also be prone to leaking, resulting in damage to the inside of the vehicle.

Not only are these sunroofs difficult to maintain, they’re also complicated to install in a car.

Considering how high the demand is for electronic vehicles these days, a lot of time can be saved by building cars with closed roofs or sunroofs that are fully sealed.

Generally, manufacturers want to sell as many vehicles as possible. Because sunroofs can be a hassle to use and maintain, going without them saves both the manufacturers and the consumers from a serious headache.

4. There’s A Lack Of Demand For Sunroofs That Open

Considering how complicated sunroofs can be, it often doesn’t make sense to add them to vehicles when there isn’t enough demand for them.

While those who live in mild, dry climates might be able to get some use out of a sunroof, they are essentially the only ones.

Drivers who spend a lot of time in rain or snow are unlikely to see a sunroof as useful, and opening the sunroof in hot weather will only release the cold air generated by the air conditioner.

Sunroofs can also come with a risk of damaging the upholstery in the vehicle. The sunlight shining in through the sunroof speeds up the discoloration of leather seats, leaving the inside of the car looking rough.

Consequently, at a minimum, many electric vehicle manufacturers tend to stick to sunroofs that aren’t capable of being opened.

5. Sunroofs May Allow Excess Heat In The Car

There’s a reason why many greenhouses are made out of glass. It’s a fantastic material for allowing more heat into a space.

That’s a great thing for plants, but definitely not ideal for the inside of a car.

Sunroofs allow more heat into the car.

Whether it’s a sunroof that can open or not, the closed glass will increase the temperature inside the vehicle on clear, sunny days.

This can be a larger problem for panoramic sunroofs, which essentially turn the entire roof of the vehicle into a window.

Although they might look fantastic and provide a clear view of the outside world, sunroofs can also turn the inside of your vehicle into an oven on warmer days. That makes them a risky choice for areas that tend to have higher temperatures to begin with.

6. Sunroofs Add Weight To The Vehicle

There’s a tricky balance that has to be maintained when it comes to the weight of a vehicle.

Cars that are too heavy will suffer when it comes to fuel mileage. They may also have a harder time when it comes to braking.

Just think about the process a semi-truck driver has to go through when making a stop compared to someone driving a small, compact car.

On the other hand, vehicles that are too light can have issues while driving around larger vehicles. In some cases, even strong winds can make driving a little bit more difficult.

Typically, too much weight is more of a problem. Since cars require a lot of heavy parts in their construction, it’s unlikely that a car would be too light to drive.

Sunroofs play into this issue because they require heavy glass in order to ensure the safety of those inside the car. Additional reinforcement is also required to keep the body of the vehicle stable and durable.

All of this adds weight to the car. Depending on the vehicle and sunroof chosen, up to a couple hundred pounds can be added just by installing a sunroof.

On top of that, having that extra weight on top of the car rather than at the bottom can also disrupt the vehicle’s overall efficiency.

7. Sunroof Designs Are Noisy

This situation generally applies to sunroofs that are able to open. Fully-sealed sunroofs won’t present this problem, since air cannot get into the vehicle through them.

Going for a long drive on a nice day with the sunroof open might sound like a good idea, but what it actually sounds like is a hurricane blowing into the top of your car.

All that noise makes it a lot more difficult to talk to passengers, enjoy music, and even hear what’s going on around you.

If you’re a driver who loves the sound and feel of the wind blowing on you, then this might not be too much of an issue. Just keep in mind that rocking out to music won’t really be an option during your drives.

8. Passengers May Feel Less Safe Under A Sunroof

Although science indicates that vehicles equipped with sunroofs are no more dangerous than those without, the thought of being surrounded by the glass rather than metal can be intimidating. This is especially true for those considering a panoramic sunroof.

Consumers may find themselves concerned about how the glass will hold up in an accident, especially if the vehicle experiences a rollover.

Is it possible that the glass in the sunroof will shatter and cause injuries to the passengers?

Tests have been conducted to ensure that sunroofs are safe, but there’s no denying that a sunroof will never be quite as durable as a standard metal roof.

Realistically, it’s safer to just enjoy the windows that already exist on the car and forgo the addition of a sunroof.

 Sources

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