This premium sports utility vehicle (SUV) is a prime example of how Borealis and Borouge are supporting the industry on a global scale by engineering lighter weight, high-performance solutions for a growing range of automotive parts while at the same time allowing for more design freedom and customisation.Another automotive highlight in the spotlight at K 2019 is the launch of the next generation of Fibremod Carbon solutions based on second-use carbon fibre. Two new low-density material solutions, Fibremod CG210SY and Fibremod CD211SY, offer even better surface aesthetics and mechanical properties.
According to IHS Markit Automotive, in 2018, total sales in the major global markets for new electric vehicles – including all-electric, range-extended (REX), and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles – topped 2.5 million. Should the global trend of increased emphasis on EVs continue as predicted, EV manufacturers stand to sell around four million EVs in 2019.In major markets, all-electric, REX and PHEV sales will make up over 10% of combined passenger car and light commercial sales in 2020, with robust growth in China and the 28 EU countries driving these numbers. While EV sales are set to double in both EU-28 and China by 2020, market momentum in North American markets is not as pronounced.
A surge of new vehicles from major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the next several years will increase competition among automotive marques. It will also offer more choice – particularly when it comes to value for money – to consumers thanks to a wider range of cost-effective EVs. Incentives and infrastructure improvements will offer an added boost to EV market players in their quest to reduce tailpipe CO2 emissions across the globe.Driven by stringent emissions regulations, industry policies, and by formerly generous subsidies, the Chinese market has experienced significant growth in recent years. While the market is currently facing some headwinds, it remains a leader in vehicle fleet electrification driven by domestic EV makers. Many new EV brands have appeared in recent years in China and NIO has distinguished itself based on design, technology and performance.
The leading premium Chinese EV manufacturer is known for its stylish and cheerful model design, and in particular the signature ‘Spark Beat’ tail lights and ‘X-bar’ which grace each NIO model. The all-electric, premium SUV NIO ES8 seats seven and has been in production since June 2018. This model boasts an on-board proprietary pilot system, an advanced autonomous driving assistant system, and the first in-car artificial intelligence system in its class. Its swappable battery is a potential game-changer in the segment.In developing the NIO ES8, the automaker’s list of requirements included high structural performance for parts, quality and consistency of materials, maximum vehicle range, and light-weighting solutions to mitigate the high battery weight. Borealis and Borouge worked in partnership with NIO and its Tier One suppliers to determine the right solutions for a variety of interior and exterior parts.
Extensive modelling and simulation was carried out by Borealis and Borouge experts in both Europe and China. Using innovative grades supplied from the Borealis and Borouge global network, NIO has been able to achieve top parts performance and reduced component weight – but has also been able to realise its unique design vision for the model.A highlight among the numerous interior and exterior NIO ES8 parts made using Borealis and Borouge grades is the centre console structure, a novel and useful design feature which – as befits the aspirational driver, or passenger – is ideal for the stowing of luxury handbags.
By forming the centre console bracket using Fibremod CB201SY, one of the ultra-lightweight grades in the Fibremod family of carbon-fibre filled polypropylene (PP) compounds, Borealis and Borouge were able to enhance customer value: a 20% reduction in part weight (when compared to use of conventional PP long glass fibre 40); good dimensional stability for a larger part of these dimensions; high stiffness; and suitability for injection moulding.
Innovative thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) compounds in the Daplen portfolio were used to make other low-density parts, including front and rear bumpers; door panel and map pocket; and the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) brackets.
“The NIO ES8 project is a textbook case on what can be achieved through collaboration and innovation on a global scale,” says Nicholas Kolesch, Borealis head of marketing, automotive. “Using innovative material solutions like Fibremod Carbon to help lighten the load of EV vehicles in particular is an essential aspect of CO2 reduction. We will continue to advance our portfolio to offer an expanded range of options for weight savings potential, performance, and surface aesthetics.”“Guaranteed global supply, and reliable technical support on the ground, on site – this is the key to making international co-operation like ours on the NIO ES8 a success,” claims Ivan Xu, Borouge vice president, marketing center, mobility. “We look forward to ‘Building Tomorrow Together’ with our Chinese partners, and meeting head on the many challenges facing the industry, be it environmental legislation, vehicular safety, or increasing customisation for the end consumer.”
Collaboration with NIO and Tier One suppliers was instrumental in the evolution of the pioneering Fibremod Carbon product family. Originally launched in 2016, the Fibremod Carbon portfolio offers OEMs and Tiers a broad spectrum of opportunities for significant part weight reduction, but also for functionalisation and modularisation of components.Crucially, as a second-use carbon fibre material solution, Fibremod Carbon helps lower the overall CO2 footprint of vehicles by enabling producers to use material resources more wisely and economically on the one hand, and by increasing the range of EV vehicles on the other thanks to lighter weight.
Responding to current demand for more sustainable solutions with enhanced surface aesthetics and mechanical properties, Borealis has now developed two new low-density additions to the portfolio: Fibremod CG210SY, containing 20% carbon fibre; and Fibremod CD211SY, a hybrid concept made with 10% talc and 10% carbon fibre.Advantages include: (i) improved surface appearance and better dimensional stability; (ii) unsurpassed stiffness and durability; (iii) good paint adhesion and high flowability; and (iv) made in Europe, available around the world.
The grades are intended for use in structural parts and body panel applications, including fenders and tailgate skins, structural interior applications with complex geometry, and for class-A painted surfaces. Additional grades with enhanced surfaces aesthetics are currently under development for use in painted and unpainted parts.For the latest refining and petrochemical industry related videos, subscribe to our YouTube page.