BMW-Led Group Builds Lightweight Resin Concept
Scientists at the Technical University of Munich have teamed up with BMW, Daimler, and other industry participants as part of the Visio.M (Visionary Mobility) consortium to develop new lightweight materials for use in the automobiles of the future. Showing off their latest concept, the Visio.M Concept is built of extremely lightweight materials, beginning with windows made of LEXAN resin, and coated with technologies provided by SABIN, a company specializing in automotive glass and thermoplastics.
Use of LEXAN resin for the windows reduces the vehicle’s weight by over 28 pounds, which can be a significant reduction for electric vehicles when the manufacturer is trying to maximize efficiency and range. As a bonus, the LEXAN resin also boasts 100 times the impact resistance of glass, reducing risk from theft, and the SABIN coating increases abrasion and weather resistance.
As technologies continue to improve, it seems likely that we’ll begin to see more and more of these advanced, lightweight materials in all sorts of production vehicles. There are quite a few luxury car owners who would be happy with shatter-resistant windows to deter theft. And the weight savings not only increase efficiency but will lower the center of gravity, making the vehicles perform better as well. Maybe someday we’ll be adding LEXAN resin to materials like carbon fiber which are becoming more and more common in performance vehicles everywhere.