Polycarbonate Contributes to EV Range

Article From: 11/10/2011 Automotive Design & Production

Mass reduction is critical for fuel economy improvement in any vehicle.

This concept roof module was developed for electric vehicles by Webasto and Bayer MaterialScience. Because the panoramic portion is made of a polycarbonate material rather than glass, it is lighter. Overall, the module weighs just 20 kg.

Mass reduction is critical for fuel economy improvement in any vehicle. More so in the case of electric vehicles (EVs), given that they’re generally carrying around heavy batteries that help deplete the energy they’re storing.
Bayer MaterialScience (bayer-materialscience.com) and Webasto AG (webasto.com/home/en) have collaborated on a roof module for EVs that includes a panoramic panel and integrated solar modules. The entire roof weighs 20 kg. A large part of the savings comes from using a transparent polycarbonate—Makrolon AG2677—for the panoramic roof portion.
The people at Bayer say that using polycarbonate and polyurethane materials for glazing in place of glass can result in weight reductions of up to 50%.
Another benefit can be realized by using transparent tinted colors in the polycarbonate glazing that can filter out a large proportion of the sun’s infrared rays. (While glass can be tinted, here there is a “virtually unlimited choice of options for polycarbonate coloring.”) The benefit of tinting: “Ventilation and air conditioning systems. . .don’t need to work so intensively under the action of the sun’s heat, which cuts power consumption and extends the range that electric vehicles can travel,” says Dr. Seven Gestermann, key account manager, Automotive Glazing, Bayer MaterialScience.