As automakers seek improved fuel efficiency, polycarbonate’s lightweight, impact-resistant properties can reduce vehicle weight while enabling sleek curves in modern designs. Not only do polycarbonates reduce the weight of vehicle components by up to 50%, but also help cutting fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, while keeping strength, safety and style.
Concept car ZaZen by Rinspeed.
Lightweight materials may find exciting opportunities in the automotive industry as a means of increasing fuel efficiency. With 75% of fuel consumption relating directly to vehicle weight, potential weight reductions that result in improved price-performance ratio promote use of lightweight materials. The automotive industry can expect an impressive 6-8% improvement in fuel usage with only 10% reduction in vehicle weight. This translates into a reduction of around 20 kg of CO2 per kilogram of weight reduction over the vehicle's lifetime. Lighter vehicles facilitate easier braking, reduced collision impact overall vehicle performance and superior driving experience. One of the key plastics used in automotive sector is polycarbonate (PC). PC has dominated the market for vehicle headlamp covers for 15 years, and now it challenges glass in windows. The primary advantages of PC automotive glazing are lowered weight and associated CO2 emissions reductions along with greater styling freedom and simpler functional integration. The main drawback to a PC is weathering, resistance to scratch, positions on the vehicle where PC can be used by federal standards and cost. By the time you apply a hard coat, any potential savings derived from weight is now lost due increased piece price cost which can be as much as 4:1.