PRODUCT EVALUATION CAN-AM E-CHROME GOGGLES Straight from James Bond’s arsenal
q Does the word “electrochromic” mean anything to you? If not, don’t worry; it didn’t mean anything to us, either, a few months ago. Elec-trochromic is the ability of a clear substance to change opacity and color when electricity is applied. This technology has been used for years in “smart windows” for your home and auto-dimming mirrors in cars and trucks, but it’s never been used in an ATV goggle before!
Can-Am’s E-Chrome goggle uses electrochromic technology to tint the lens with the push of a button on the frame, using a watch battery to start the transformation process. Tungsten oxide is the main material that exhibits the properties required to make this change in most electrochromic devices, and once a charge is applied to the dual-pane goggles, they instantly tint the lens to a dark shade of pink. Once the tinting process has occurred, no charge has to be applied to maintain its tinted state. To switch back to an untinted state, the circuit provides an opposite charge, or discharge path, to “bleach” the lens.
While it sounds complicated—and it is—using the E-Chrome goggle couldn’t be simpler. There is a master on/off switch on the bottom of the goggle frame, and a large, rubber-sealed button on top of the battery box, which sits just off the frame on the left side. The thick goggle foam seals against your face well and wicks away sweat without depositing it into your eyes, which is a problem we have encountered with some thick goggles in the past.
They breathe well—maybe a little too well for our tastes—in dusty conditions, but simple tricks, like Vaseline on the foam breathers, help quite a bit. The ability to tint the goggles with the push of a button is more useful than you would think at first. You can leave on a ride mid-day, riding into the sun with the goggles tinted to save your eyes. Then, on the way back, when it’s dark, the lenses go clear for better vision. You can wear them day or night so you don’t have to have two sets of goggles or lenses for different lighting conditions.
They won’t short out and shock your face if you ride in the rain, either, and the fit of the goggle is comfortable and seals well around the thick foam. The E-Chromes come with a removable nose guard and a goggle bag, but no replacement lens kits are available as of yet. All the technology in the goggle is placed in the lens, so if you ride in muddy or super-dusty conditions, we would recommend retrofitting a tear-off kit to the goggle, as it doesn’t come with one.