14 Jun 2019 / New energy

Driving a sustainable future of the automotive sector

The future of the automotive sector is green. Global sales of electric and plug-in hybrid cars rose by 54% in 2017 to over 3 million units. The International Energy Agency predicts that the global stock of electric vehicles (EVs) will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 33%, from 3.1 million units in 2017 to 125 million by 2030.

China remains by far the largest electric car market in the world, accounting for more than half of the 1.1 million EVs sold in 2017. The United States is the second-largest EV market, with about 280,000 cars sold in 2017, up from 160,000 in 2016.

Accelerating shift

Drivers in North America have historically preferred petrol (gasoline) engines, with the price of gasoline significantly lower there than in many other countries around the world. Even if the electric and hybrid market is expected to rise exponentially in the coming years, from 2% in 2018 to 14% by 2025, this low fuel-price environment will continue to facilitate the dominance of petroleum-powered sport-utility vehicles for some time to come.

Europe, on the other hand, is quickly shifting gears in the race toward carbon-free transport, with the recent EU agreement to cut emissions from cars by 37.5% and vans by 31% by 2030 compared with 2021. This means that a significant proportion of new cars will be electric vehicles, while the efficiency of the remaining internal combustion powered cars and vans will need to be significantly improved.

In this regard, the share of diesel engine vehicles is falling rapidly in Europe, from a high of 56% in 2011 to 45% in 2017, and the trend will likely continue apace. Moreover, a number of countries, including Germany, France the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom, have already announced plans to ban the sale of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles in the coming decades.

Route 66

In a lower carbon future, new, innovative designs and manufacturing materials will be necessary for vehicles and parts to meet stringent CO2 targets, including for lightweighting, improved performance, and higher levels of safety. From transmission parts and powertrains, to fuel, cooling, and electrical systems, to cockpit components, pioneering solutions are called for in terms of thermal management, metal replacement, fire protection and fluid barriers.

Polyamide 66 (PA66) is a vital material for automakers in this respect, replacing metal parts and components, thanks to its robust performance features, dimensional stability, lightweight, chemical resistance and thermal management. Its applications for the automotive market include in engine cooling systems, powertrains, transmission parts, electrical and electronic systems, and structural parts, such as engine mounts and seat structures.

The Technyl® Force from the Solvay Engineering Plastics team of experts can give you the ability to integrate cost, performance and safety features to stay on track to with sustainable mobility. In addition to our comprehensive line of Technyl® polyamides, Solvay Engineering Plastics provides OEMs and parts suppliers with advanced support options, including assistance with raw material selection, MMI Technyl® Design for CAE simulations, parts testing, and Sinterline® Technyl powders for rapid prototyping.