The four mobility trends requiring new materials
A recent Deloitte study examined major industry transformations and their impact on material selection.
From battery range to interiors, the study concluded that today’s automotive engineers face challenges far more integrated and interdisciplinary than before.
Daikin Chemicals, a leading raw material supplier, is continually supporting the shift from ICE to EV, and offers OEMs and Tier suppliers the most innovative materials and interdisciplinary technical support.
The Future of Mobility
The future of the automobile unsurprisingly warrants a debate on disruption, with only the most agile and innovative companies leading the way. Electrified vehicles, both with and without autonomy, are bound to dominate the future of the automobile world, irrespective of forecast, timeline or population. The expectation of both consumers and designers for future mobility are clear and offer new paradigms.
The same expectations apply to materials – fewer high heat plastics and rubbers; more easy-to-replace and service commodities. There is also a new demand for high-end, lightweight polymers and battery materials.
The study anticipates four future states of mobility based on two criteria:
- Vehicle ownership
- Vehicle control
According to Deloitte, these four states are likely to co-exist in the long run. The significance of electric vehicles for the coming years is a certainty, and impacts the following four areas in terms of materials:
- Lightweight Materials
- In-vehicle Experience
Facing major uncertainties in these areas, car manufacturers are urgently investigating solutions and partners.
Finding an Innovation Facilitator
Having worked alongside OEMs for several years, Daikin Chemicals has anticipated this transformation. Daikin’s agility stems from its comprehensive portfolio of solutions for the mobility industry:
1. Lightweight Materials
The past 30 years have hit material and automotive suppliers with a major source of concern in vehicle weight reduction. However, there are fundamental challenges with the transformation from ICE to EV, which previously included fuel efficiency and emissions reduction.
Today’s primary challenge is longer drive ranges required of the battery. Autonomous vehicles will also play a role in impacting the specifications for material and design.
2. Interior Coatings
Vehicles will likewise undergo major changes to both interior and exterior design. External coatings will become more functional than aesthetic in a fleet. The longer use-life and higher stress on vehicle requirements demand more durable anti-corrosion and easy-to-clean properties.
Safety concerns lead to the concept of seen and be seen.
Seen implies sensors and camera systems that provide optimal performance in the face of bad weather, soiling and pollution. In order to be seen, vehicles must be reflective across a wide range of wavelengths and in difficult weather conditions, such as snow or heavy rain.
Vehicle interiors are also undergoing a gradual change. Usage may drive fleet operators to renew interior trims regularly, requiring designs and parts that are both easily replaceable and wear-resistant. The demand for various types of haptic surfaces for electronic screens is on the rise among both business and leisure users. There is an increased need for surfaces which reduce dirt, fingerprints, and contamination.
In this field, Daikin has several innovative surface modification options:
- Optool An anti-fingerprint and easy to clean transparent coating, ideal for screens and sensors
- Optoace An ultrathin waterproof and abrasion-resistant film for increased performance of electronics
- Zeffle An ultra-weatherable and easy to clean coating and additive for outdoor use
- Unidyne A water and oil repellent solution for textiles and non-wovens
3. Battery Materials
Battery materials and the need for increased range pose the most significant challenges in electrification. Modern innovations in the battery have made great strides, thanks mainly to lithium-ion cathode binder materials, gaskets, and electrolytes.
To support these advances, Daikin proposes several solutions which increase battery performance and processing:
- Cathode binder based on a new polymer which enables high electrode density limits the cracking phenomenon and resolves gel issues in processing
- Gasket material with resistance beyond 260°C, water vapor protection and the industry’s highest sealing performance
4. Improving the User Experience
As observed nowadays in other industries, the driving experience is slowly shifting from a focus on comfort and safety towards an in-transit experience, where connectivity and entertainment make the difference. OLED, flexible materials, haptic surfaces, and antimicrobials are amongst topics undergoing investigations that will positively contribute to this experience.
Again, Daikin Chemicals’ surface modification solutions offer haptic coatings with high kinetic coefficients of friction, allowing for easier touchscreen usage. Additionally, the inherent repellent properties of the solutions contribute to the reduction of surface contamination, as a lower quantity of fluid adheres to the surface when compared to standard coatings.
Designers may also rely upon the new tactile experience provided by a material such as DAI-EL, which offers an unexpected and light feel while being resistant to human fluids, UV, and more.
At a time when electronic materials keep getting downsized, Daikin bridges the performance gap of existing capacitor technologies. Fluoropolymer film especially dedicated to HEV/BEV allows the capacitor to achieve higher heat resistance and high energy density in the future, with a smaller size.
From a materials standpoint, the accelerated path to electrification demands automotive engineers and suppliers review the way they establish specifications. The array of solutions and ongoing development for future mobility challenges is endless at Daikin Chemicals.
From biofouling coatings to new alloys for lighter weight parts, this global company is excited to be a leading partner in the automotive and mobility industries.