Perhaps the biggest impact on mobility is consumers’ urge to live a more sustainable lifestyle and to reduce their use of fossil fuels. In other words, decarbonisation will have a significant role in transforming personal mobility.
The rise of electric cars has demonstrated that it is possible to create alternatives to the combustion engine. In addition, start-ups and manufacturers are now exploring automobiles powered by alternative fuels such as solar and hydrogen – although these are several years away from mass viability.
For automobile manufacturers, a more pressing need is to reduce the carbon footprint of their products. The sector is critical to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Tailpipe emissions have a significant role to play in lowering greenhouse gas contributions, but manufacturers have now also begun to look at material emissions as they consider the carbon footprint of their products across their lifecycles.
IMCD’s mobility taskforce therefore works to identify and create materials that can deliver just these parameters. Our automotive partners have had great success with parts made from polyamide glass fibres that are significantly lighter than existing solutions and are also more flexible and shock resistant. Such parts include braking covers, clutch pedals, grammar holding arms for consoles, transverse bridges and engine covers.
Similarly, the choice of materials must consider how they can be recovered and recycled at the end of a vehicle’s life. Whether these are bio-sourced, recycled or recyclable materials, circularity close to 100% is now essential. Here, the use of polymer-based parts material can ensure maximum reuse while simplifying materials recovery with a low energy impact.
Finally, technological changes require that new propositions are considered very carefully. Electrification is correlated with an increased risk of fire, for example. Therefore, every material used within an EV must be fire-resistant and flame retardant. For non-structural materials, IMCD proposes thermoplastic polyurethane cables (TPUs) and PVC elastomers.