Plastics bring trendy electric car designs to life

Covestro representatives recently attended the VDI Plastics in Automotive Engineering VDI Plastics in Automotive Engineering conference. The conference and exhibition brought together more than 1,500 participants to discuss the latest plastics developments in the automotive industry. This year’s show was held March 29-30 at Congress Center Rosengarten in Mannheim, Germany.

The Covestro booth was busy throughout the event. Curious attendees flocked to see exterior design trends in the form of a new electric car design concept developed in conjunction with experts from automotive supplier HELLA KGaA Hueck & Co. and design students from the distinguished Umeå Institute of Design in Sweden. Made possible with Covestro materials, the visionary concept car features wrap-around glazing, holographic lighting and autonomous driving technologies.

Additionally, Jochen Hardt, Head of Global Marketing Automotive & Transportation, Polycarbonates, Covestro, and Steffen Pietzonka, Head of Global Marketing OE Lighting, Original Equipment – Lighting, HELLA, participated in a joint press event to share how the integration of design and function is shaping the car exterior of the future.

Shaking up the traditional car cockpit

The concept car is the first vehicle with wrap-around glazing made of transparent polycarbonate that enables new styling options not possible with glass. The transparent A-pillar provides passengers with a panorama view, and enhances pedestrian safety because it almost entirely eliminates blind spots. The glazing meets all the requirements of the new UN Regulation R43.

Another cockpit innovation Covestro highlighted was interior displays and operating panels protected by scratch-resistant, glare-free films. These films support new lighting effects and the integration of functions into the instrument panel. With Covestro’s display and surface demonstrator, VDI congress attendees obtained a better understanding of film development.

New holographic lighting concept

Visitors to VDI congress experienced first-hand how Covestro and HELLA redefined automotive lighting with the concept car by transforming light and lighting effects into styling elements. One advanced example is based on holographic films from the Bayfol® HX range. This film enables various lighting functions to be integrated into body components, requiring little space and opening up entirely new possibilities for using light as a design element.

Greater safety for self-driving cars

The concept car is also geared to future technologies, such as the autonomous car. New polycarbonate materials enable good transmission of LiDAR signals and the homogeneous integration of sensors, i.e. the “eyes” of an autonomous vehicle, to enhance safety. Combined with integrated displays, autonomous vehicles can support direct from car-to-car and car-to-pedestrian communication.

“Lighter than water”

With this slogan, Covestro’s polyurethane group presented a rear valance for a Porsche GT3 RS made of “Bayflex® Lightweight.” With a unique composition of polyurethane resin and fillers, weight can be reduced by 23 percent compared with standard Bayflex® RIM (reaction injection molding) technology. This provides an example of how Covestro is pushing boundaries for a race car part that must comply with the highest performance requirements.

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