Home » Renault’s Glowing Demo Truck Has Me Wondering Why We’re Not All Driving Glow-in-the-Dark Cars

Renault’s Glowing Demo Truck Has Me Wondering Why We’re Not All Driving Glow-in-the-Dark Cars

Renault Trucks E Tech T Diamond Echddofff
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Renault’s trucking division is showing off its new EV big rigs across Europe at the moment, and they’ve built a shiny promotional vehicle to do it. The Renault E-Tech T has been nicknamed “Diamond Echo,” and it wears a striking electroluminescent paint scheme that got me wondering. Why don’t see see more of this sort of thing?!

Diamond Echo’s real role is to highlight the finer points of Renault’s electric truck technology. As the brand is pushing its electric future, it only makes sense to go for a similarly futuristic paint job. Glowing paintwork is perfectly fitting in that regard. It helps the truck instantly catch the eye, particularly in the dark.

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The angular Renault badge was the key influence on the design. The individual segments of the linework are independently controlled, with glowing shapes dancing across the truck’s body in Renault’s demo video.

Renault Trucks E Tech T Diamond Echo 02 0

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Renault isn’t the only company to jump on this for promotional purposes, either. Lexus had an RC-F sprayed with Lumilor paint in a daring design some years ago, even going so far as to control the lighting effect with the driver’s heartbeat. It was all to highlight the excitement one feels while driving the RC-F. A cliche concept, but the paint looked great.

Both these concepts used pretty typical colors of green and blue, though some other colors are possible. It was all achieved with Lumilor paint. It’s the most well-known brand of electroluminescent paint and is available in eight shades in total.

If you’re unfamiliar with electroluminescent (EL) paints, they’re basically materials that can be coaxed into glowing under the influence of an electric current. EL paints can be sprayed onto flat or curved surfaces to enable them to glow, emitting light evenly in all directions. EL materials usually emit light in a single wavelength with a soft glow that is pleasant to the eye.

Lumilor Lexus Heartbeat Car 1 42 Screenshot

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The effect can be striking when applied to a vehicle. Imagine being able to create vinyl-like graphics that actually emit light, and you’ve got the idea.

My one question is why we don’t see more of this out in the wild. Sure, we’re well past the era of sex spec and The Fast and the Furious, but customized cars are still a big deal. I’m surprised every second SEMA build doesn’t have something like this going on. But even then, I want to see more than that. I want every fartcan Civic and slammed Mustang to be dripping in lurid, glowing graphics.

Lumilor Light Emitting Coating 0 8 Screenshot

I think I can answer that question myself, though. As explained by Lumilor, their glowing paint is a multilayer system that requires application with professional spray equipment. Controlling multiple sections of Lumilor paint to create flashing or animated effects also requires a certain level of electronics knowledge that isn’t common in the car community. If you think about the quality of the average DIY stereo install, well, that won’t cut it for implementing something like this.

There’s also the simple fact that EL technology just doesn’t put out that much light. You’ll see demos focus on dark rooms or night scenes, because that’s where EL looks best. Even in dim daylight, it can be virtually invisible.

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The Lumilor System 2 24 Screenshot
LumiLor is intended for application in a six-layer stackup. The backplane material and conductive clear coat are charged with AC current that enables the Lumicolor layer of EL material to glow.

Basically, unless you’ve got plenty of cash to invest in a custom EL paint job, you’re probably not getting this on your ride. With that said, if you’ve got the resourcefulness and guile of a YouTube chemistry vlogger, you could always try and whip up a dodgy version of your own in your home lab.

Image credits: Renault, Lexus, LumiLor via YouTube screenshot

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The48thRonin
The48thRonin
1 month ago

For those that are less inclined to working with chemical coatings, you can get flexible electroluminescent panels from a variety of places online, that’ll do a similar thing. You’d still need to know how to program an arduino, but there are a lot of references out there for LED control that you could build off of.

Myk El
Myk El
1 month ago

Was mostly offline last week. Missed this, so if anyone is still paying attention…

AUTOMAN

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
1 month ago

“EL materials usually emit light in a single wavelength”

Single color from a spectrum of wavelengths perhaps. This isn’t a coherent laser after all. If it were the speckle pattern would be an interesting touch though.

Last edited 1 month ago by Cheap Bastard
Ben
Ben
1 month ago

There’s also the simple fact that EL technology just doesn’t put out that much light. You’ll see demos focus on dark rooms or night scenes, because that’s where EL looks best.

This. I’ve ridden a bike trail where they embedded EL material into the surface so it glows in the dark. The first time I rode it I thought it wasn’t working because I couldn’t see it. I discovered that you have to shut your lights off and let your eyes adjust for a little while before it can even be seen. Super cool once you do that, but if there’s any light around it just disappears. A mostly full moon will wash it out.

Gubbin
Gubbin
1 month ago

Glowy-car bat-signal activated! Deploy the Amon Tobin “Verbal” video!
Check out those nifty Lambo-alikes rendered in CGI that was crude even by 2002 standards!
(They used Amon Tobin’s music for a couple nifty BMW ads, can’t find ’em though.)

Jim Stock
Jim Stock
1 month ago

Money, I would do it but my wife stops my silly spending.

Church
Church
1 month ago

Me: Why aren’t we all driving around in glow in the dark cars?
Wife: That sounds incredible obnoxious.

I guess this is not universally appealing.

Musicman27
Musicman27
1 month ago

That truck looks like its straight out of tron… And I love it.

Boulevard_Yachtsman
Boulevard_Yachtsman
1 month ago

you could always try and whip up a dodgy version of your own in your home lab.

Or you could take a slightly more old-school approach and drill 1659 holes into a classic Beetle’s exterior: Eric Staller’s Lightmobile

10001010
10001010
1 month ago

Now I wanna paint my car up like Tron

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
1 month ago

Didn’t Wheeler Dealers do something kinda similar to a Pacer? That thing looked pretty cool!

Balloondoggle
Balloondoggle
1 month ago

*dons Doofenschmirtz’s lab coat*

I’m painting the Boltinator 2000 with FLAMES using my homebrew EL paint!

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
1 month ago
Reply to  Balloondoggle

“Curse you! Curse you Perry the Platypus!”

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
1 month ago

It’s really cool, but can you imagine if there were multiple cars with it on a dark stretch of road? It would be like WWI dazzle camo. You wouldn’t be able to tell where one ended and another began, if they were close together. Like, if one was passing another.

Jeep Liberty, MY LEG!
Jeep Liberty, MY LEG!
1 month ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

Good point. Perhaps I’m going to show my ADHD addled zillenial hand by trying to support this, but I’m seeing it as an option for the paint (“night glow color” on the order form), with manufacturers agreeing to make their own patterns to prevent that, but you get to pick the color/glow.

Ford could do splinter pattern, Mazda tron lines, Honda hex, etc.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jeep Liberty, MY LEG!
Ron888
Ron888
1 month ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

Good point that

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
1 month ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

Works for Zebras.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
1 month ago

Why not? Two and a half words – Batman & Robin.

Church
Church
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

Oh. Oh. Yeah, that’s a great point. Damn you, Schumacher!

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
1 month ago
Reply to  Lewin Day

The absolute worst Batman movie (as judged not only by the public but also all the main stars and finally the director himself), among other terribleness, featured neon, glow in the dark vehicles and henchmen. Apparently, it was all a plan to sell kids toys!

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