Polymer company Covestro has partnered with the Research and Development Center of Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC) to develop a lightweight composite seatback for the ENO.146 electric concept car.
The ENO.146 has a drag coefficient of 0.146 and a New European Driving Cycle range of 1,000km.
The aerodynamic design is key to achieving performance goals, but the R&D Center also uses lightweight and sustainable materials reducing the car’s weight and improving sustainability.
Zhang Fan, vice president of the GAC R&D Center, said, “Mobility trends such as electrification and autonomous driving are redefining the role and function of car interiors. There is a growing need for material solutions that are lightweight and sustainable while opening up ways to create new user experiences ranging from visual to tactile feedback.”
The backrests of the front seats are made of Maezio CFRTP, a reinforced thermoplastic composite material from Covestro.
The composite backrest is estimated to save up to 50% in weight compared with typical metal constructions.
Lisa Ketelsen, head of Covestro’s thermoplastic composites business, said, “Seats in the passenger compartment are an ideal target for weight savings, as they are among the heaviest parts there. Fiber-reinforced composites are the ideal material for lightweight automotive construction, but Maezio can further simplify molding and streamline the manufacturing process.”
The Maezio is a thermoplastic material, meaning parts and functions can be consolidated by injection molding, reducing the number of parts and materials.