Light Weight Materials: All Set to have a Heavy Impact Across Industries and Specifically in Automotive

Lightweight constituents as well as design have always been a critical topic in product design across numerous industries. The idea has been of maximum importance in aviation sector, but also in industries where large rotating parts are key elements of product design such as wind turbines. Moreover, creating light weight automobiles are yet another emerging trend presently. In this industry, driving dynamics are a major consideration. According to a recent study, the lightweight share is currently highest in aviation with almost 80%, however, automotive is anticipated to massively increase the lightweight share from 30 to 70% by 2030. The usage of lightweight components containing substantial amount of carbon fiber is a cost-effective measure in order to reduce CO2, but with limited abatement potential. High performance plastics are vital in the automotive industry. According to the British Plastics Federation, every 100kg of plastic can substitute between 200-300 kg of traditional materials. Over the typical life expectancy of a vehicle, these 100kg of plastics will decrease fuel consumption by 750 litres and subsequently, the carbon dioxide emissions. The main problem of the electric-powered vehicle is the weight of the batteries. Therefore, use of plastics in battery covers and other part of the vehicle will reduce the weight of the overall vehicle.

Recently deliberated CO2 targets for 2025 in Europe cannot be attained with engine efficacy measures and lightweight materials alone. Electrified vehicles is supposed to contribute to a positive extent to the contentment of the regulation. Moreover, with the implementation of ICE efficiency package with highest potential as well as the lightweight package with hybrid structures from metal and plastics, CO2 emissions of an average car is likely to be reduced to about 80 g per kilometer. Extreme lightweight package with carbon fiber structures would be able to meet the CO2 targets in the future. Therefore, hybrids, which further reduce fuel consumption, and full-electric vehicles, which are considered as zero-emissions vehicles will play an increasingly vital role in the future. As the upsurge in weight causes extra system as well as battery cost along with lessened driving dynamics, lightweight materials and design have become extremely desirable as a counterbalance in order to reduce system cost along with improving driving performance.