New vehicle technologies are emerging thanks to the latest automotive trends such as autonomous driving, mobility, connectivity and electrification. It is where new plastics concepts play a vital role in the future of automobile design, including electric cars.

“Most of the future automobile functionalities are derived from the electrical and electronics industry, whether it is about electric drive or battery technology, sensor technology, connectivity or artificial intelligence,” said car expert Dr Eckhard Wenz in a lecture about new plastic concepts for vehicles, quoted by PlasticsToday.

Polycarbonate has been used for many years in innovative applications in the electrical, electronics and automotive industries. Due to its properties, it can also serve as a key material for new car concepts encompassing mobility and connectivity.

New polycarbonate-based concepts were presented at the VDI Congress ‘Plastics in Automotive Engineering’ on 14 and 15 March in Mannheim, Germany.

The new applications were designed to benefit the integration of lighting and sensor technology, automotive glazing, a functional and individually designed interior, and other body parts.

An important application of polycarbonate is the seamless glazing of injection-moulded elements, which combines design with functionality and even passenger safety elements.

Good thermal insulation of polycarbonate also ensures effective thermal management in car interiors. The air conditioning system consumes less energy when heating and cooling, leading to a long mileage for electric cars in particular.

Overall, plastics derivatives and the use of polycarbonate are important in the automotive industry development, especially in the functional and individual design of the car interior. Ambient lighting with LED technology, as well as new plastic optics and displays can be seamlessly integrated into large plastic components.

The auto industry and its value chains face significant challenges and opportunities, and new material concepts and alternatives are bound to develop as technology moves forward.

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