Blending “design and materials, advanced plastics and composites” will shape the car of the future, said Brian Krull, Global Director Innovation – Exteriors for Magna International (Aurora, ON, Canada), during his keynote presentation at the Plastics-In-Motion event, which ran from June 4 to 7 in Troy, MI. “Innovation is critical,” Krull stressed. “The undefined future and how we provide solutions is our greatest canvas. So where do we look to help us define the future?”
The car of the future is expected to include active safety systems, connectivity and autonomous driving capabilities, while offering comfort and convenience. And all of it needs to be affordable, Krull said. “We need to balance needs and expectations, and achieve mass reduction of the vehicle, as automotive OEMs continue to develop lightweight solutions,” he added.
Krull noted that vehicles are expected to include 350 kg of plastics by 2020, a 75% increase. Ways to achieve that will be displacing more metal components with plastics and improving on their function. “Plastics and composites enable styling that includes complex shapes and deep draws,” he said. “All exterior panels have the potential to be plastic. For example, a hood converted from metal to plastic offers a 72% mass reduction. High-volume compression molding processes are well-suited for the future.”