There are three major methods that can realize manufacturing of lightweight automobile: 1) structure design change, 2) new technology and 3) new materials. Most realistically effective option among these is the use of lightweight materials, especially “high tech plastics that can replace metal”. According to the research by McKinsey, a business management consulting firm, replacement of steel parts with new materials such as high-tech plastics or light metals in a car can result in weight loss of 420kg to 490kg depending on the mix of materials.
Durethan® is one of the most representative substitutes for metal. The areas to which lightweight designs are applicable include body, chassis, drivetrain and interior. Polyamide-based Durethan can be applied to all of them. Highly heat-resistant, durable and strong, it weighs only 1/6 of steel. Furthermore, it has the perfect properties as a material for curvy body parts thanks to its high formability comparable to thin metal board. Most importantly, it is cited as a realistic alternative for lightweight automobile despite other recent candidates like composite materials such as carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic because it can replace metal for a similar cost.
Major applications are generally lightweight, high-strength parts such as front-ends, roof frame, engine oil pan, airbag housing, and brake pedal that used to be made with metal. As we enter the era of EV, the range of applications is ever increasing including battery housing, battery cell frame, high voltage connectors, and electronic charger, etc.