Helping cars shed weight

Lightweight is a key trend when it comes to automotive construction. Clever solutions are needed!

“Light is better.” Not only long-distance runners swear by this formula for success. After all, every kilogram of weight reduction means a lead of seconds and minutes on the race course – and possibly even victory.

This brief formula for success has been defining activities in the mobility sector for some time as well. After all, “light is better” also applies to cars and airplanes. Lightweight construction is an important trend for the future – and especially in the automobile industry, a crucial aspect of sweeping change which is currently faced by this sector. This is because conventional mobility is reaching its limits as fossil fuels are running low. Rising carbon dioxide emissions are threatening the climate and the environment.

The number of vehicles is increasing at the same time, especially in growth markets around the world. Not to mention that the weight of new vehicles has increased ever more quickly over the past decades due to greater vehicle comfort and higher safety standards as well as better and better equipment. A Mini Cooper for example weighed 650 kilograms in 1959 – while a new model today already comes in at over 1,000 kilograms. New drive system concepts such as electromobility are going to further aggravate this trend – for example due to heavy on-board batteries. Accordingly the mobility of the future needs to become more sustainable and easier on resources than it is today.

Fuel consumption must be further lowered and carbon dioxide emissions per vehicle have to be further reduced. This can only be achieved with measures that improve efficiency, such as lightweight construction. After all, lighter materials that reduce the proportion of steel and metal in vehicles also reduce the overall weight. And lower weight means less consumption and reduced emissions. We are aware of this at LANXESS. And we are acting accordingly. Especially because we have many years of in-depth expertise as well as outstanding products in the fields of high-performance synthetic materials and composites, we put our money on the mega-trend of mobility early on. Naturally this also includes our pronounced dedication to “green tires” made of high-performance rubber products.

Our high-tech plastics and composites are used in countless vehicle applications – and with increasing frequency. Whether they are deployed under the hood, on the front end or in the roof structure, as a brake pedal or oil pan – they have one thing in common: our high-performance synthetic materials result in measurable weight reduction. And not only that: they also offer ultimate design freedom in addition to making modern cars safer and more comfortable. They even lower the cost of production for automobile manufacturers and suppliers – a pleasant side effect in times of increasing global competition.

The numerous advantages of lightweight construction materials lead to a sustained increase in demand for such components. According to current forecasts, the world market will grow from around EUR 70 billion currently to more than EUR 300 billion by the year 2030.

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