Nissan tries on dirt-resistant paint

Nissan tested out a new water-repelling paint that could mean the end of car washes.

Wayne Cunningham Managing Editor / Roadshow
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham

Nissan Ultra-Ever Dry test
Nissan shows how the Ultra-Ever Dry coating repels dirt. Nissan

Nissan's European research center tested an innovative paint which it says could spell the end of car washes. The paint, called Ultra-Ever Dry and made by a company named Ultratech International, repels water and some oils.

Nissan demonstrated the technology by coating half of a Note model, then driving it over a muddy course. The results in the released video and photos are impressive, with the coated side of the white car noticeably cleaner.

The Ultra-Ever Dry coating contains super-hydrophobic and oleophobic properties, according to Nissan's press release, which makes it sound like it is afraid of water and oils. The paint's surface texture contains a complex micro-geometry that causes water and some oils to bead and flow off.

Simply repelling water and oil would seem to have little to do with keeping a car clean. However, soils will not stick to a car's surface without a moisture component.

Ultratech International's website shows the company focuses on oil spill clean-up and industrial fluid management technologies.

Innovative paint technology is somewhat of a theme with Nissan, as a few years ago it showed off a self-healing paint.

When will this paint technology put millions of car washes out of business, and displace the classic cheerleader charity parking lot wash, you may wonder? Before any of these changes occur, Nissan will need to evaluate the paint's durability, cost, supply, and how it looks on the cars.