As you know, your auto glass is just that, it’s glass. It can be laminated and treated, but still remains at the basic level, glass. You may have never thought of the use of polycarbonate (plastic) auto glass but this may be a common part of vehicles in the near future. Plastic windows are no a new thing, where polycarbonate has been used in racing car windows for many years now to shed unneeded weight. It makes sense, since polycarbonate windows can weight over half as much as their glass counterparts.
Plastic cannot be used to replace every pane of glass in your vehicle. Door windows and windshields cannot be strictly made of polycarbonate because of safety. Polycarbonate is flexible and impact resistant, so this would make it very difficult for first responders in the event of an accident. Only sunroofs and rear windows see the possibility of polycarbonate replacing the auto glass.
The down side of polycarbonate is that is can haze and scratch. This has been a problem for vehicle headlight housings, but a UV-blocking layer can counteract the hazing, but scratching is a problem. Scratches also make polycarbonate a poor choice in vehicle windshields where visibility is key.
However, you may still see the use of polycarbonate in vehicle sunroofs and rear windows in the next coming years. This can reduce weight, and thus boost the gas mileage of vehicles. The fact still remains that polycarbonate windows will see a place in vehicles of the future.