This Is Why Tesla Roofs Turn Orange

This Is Why Tesla Roofs Turn Orange

It would be absolutely wild if you walked outside one day to find that your car had completely changed its color overnight. What’s even wilder is that it’s actually happening to people all over the world. The nice clear glass roof on their Tesla is now orange. But how?

This is why Tesla roofs turn orange. When the roof is wet, the light passes through the water droplets trying to get into your car. It then bounces off the UV protection and passes back through them at a different angle. The result is a vibrant orange!

See? Nice and simple. The reason Tesla roofs turn orange is a matter of how they are made. Basically, the protective layer added to the glass roof to protect the interior and anyone inside the car from harmful ultraviolet rays is to blame.But why is this unique to Tesla?

Why Do Tesla Roofs Turn Orange? 

It all comes down to science. And pretty clever science at that. The orange color on the glass roof of a Tesla is caused by the protection it offers from ultraviolet rays. That’s the rays from the sun. 

One of the coolest features of some Tesla models is the glass that takes up a majority of the roof’s surface.  It offers a wide view of the world outside your car whether you’re sitting in the front seat or the back. 

Plus, it just looks really nice.

However, there is a lot of concern with a panoramic glass roof when it comes to how much sunlight is coming into the car. It leaves open a lot of room for your car to become incredibly uncomfortable on hot days.

We’re talking about the greenhouse effect.

The Greenhouse Effect and a Tesla Roof

What’s the greenhouse effect? Essentially, it’s a process in which the warmth of the sun gets trapped in the earth’s atmosphere because of the transparency allowing the radiation through.

On a smaller scale, think of your huge glass roof like the transparent atmosphere letting the heat through and then trapping it inside your car. The heat can’t get back out and only gets worse the longer you’re out and about.

To keep the inside of the car cool, a car’s internal climate control pulls its power from the available energy used to drive the car. The more your car has to work to keep the heat out, the less energy it has to get you from point a to point b. In short, working so hard to cool down a hot car, drags the power.

This is especially important in a Tesla, where you only have so much precious electric energy to get across those miles. You need to conserve as much of it as possible, which means not wasting it all on cooling your car down when the sun is out.

So, how does the orange color come into play? We’re getting there, I promise. It’s all connected. Just bear with me a little bit longer.

How the Greenhouse Effect Turns Your Tesla Roof Orange

In order to keep your car from turning into a greenhouse under the sun, there has to be an element of UV protection added to the glass used to make the roof. Tesla happens to have pretty much mastered this for their panoramic design.

The glass used for the roof on a Tesla isn’t just your everyday pane of glass. It’s made up of multiple layers of glass that are intended to protect you and your car’s interior from the radiation and heat of the sun’s rays. 

  • The layers have been infused with UV protection that is made specifically for these purposes. 
  • This protection repels the UV rays in the opposite direction, keeping the inside of your car cooler as a result.
  • This mirror-like reflective thing that happens also makes the roof appear orange.

Because the sunroof glass protects against radiation, it also keeps the delicate skin on your scalp from getting sunburned just from sitting in your car for too long, which makes the experience of owning a Tesla with a cool glass roof all the more enjoyable.

The UV protection, whatever it’s made of, is what you see when the roof on your Tesla turns orange. And it only happens under one unique circumstance – when the roof is wet.

Water’s Role in Why a Tesla Roof Turns Orange 

The presence of water droplets on the glass roof is what leads to the rust-colored appearance of the glass roof. It can be visible concentrated under large individual drops of water or change the entire roof orange if it’s covered in a layer of condensation.

This crazy coloring is a sort of optical illusion caused by the water. The UV light is going through the water, trying to get into the car, but it can’t permeate the protective layer. It’s then directed back up through the water a second time at a different direction, causing it to look orange.

You don’t have to worry about your car roof being permanently turned orange. Once the glass is dry, the color will be gone again. It also doesn’t seem to affect some parts of the glass, like most of the windshield. 

Why Don’t Other Glass Roofs Turn Orange?

The reason this spectacular refraction doesn’t happen on every car with a glass roof simply comes down to the kind of UV protection used in the glass. All cars with glass roofs incorporate some kind of protection, but they don’t all use the same type.

A lot of cars incorporate a metallic layer in the glass to protect you and your interior from the sun’s harmful rays. The kind of UV protection on many cares does give off color, but it’s not the vibrant orange of a Tesla.

When a metallic layer is present in a car’s glass roof, it will often turn a shade of purple as an indication. It’s also possible for the glass to turn gold or silver, which is kind of natural for something metallic. 

Why Doesn’t Tesla Use Metallic UV Protection, Like Other Cars?

The problem with a metallic layer of UV protection – and the reason that Tesla doesn’t seem to be using it – is that it is known for blocking out technology. More specifically, it can hinder cell phone reception and GPS navigation inside your car by blocking the signals.

In a smart car like a Tesla, it wouldn’t be a great idea to block these signals. So, it seems the orange color of your roof is a good sign. Not only are you being protected from being burnt to a crisp and suffocated by heat, but you’re also able to use all your gadgets while you’re in your car.

But we don’t recommend using your phone while you’re driving unless it’s on a hands-free system. Or unless you’re the passenger.

The Roof of a Tesla Is Pretty Cool Technology

Now that you have the answer, you can rest easy knowing that the orange roof on your Tesla is not something to be alarmed about, and it’s certainly not permanent.

It’s all just a trick of the light.

By including the protection that keeps you or your car’s beautiful interior from burning, Tesla has introduced this crazy new concept to the world. Whatever it is in their UV protection that makes it look orange when wet is pretty amazing. Not only does it keep you safe, but it also ensures that your Tesla looks unlike any other car on the road. 

The next time your roof turns orange after the morning dew, take some time to admire it. It doesn’t last forever, and it’s a good reminder that you’re being protected.

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The articles here on are created by Greg, a Tesla vehicle and Tesla solar expert with nearly half a decade of hands-on experience. The information on this site is fact-checked and tested in-person to ensure the best possible level of accuracy.

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