Now, BASF isn’t exactly a new name in the automotive industry, but for the first time in India, they’ve unveiled a concept car made jointly by Hyundai Motor Corp and BASF, called the i-flow. This concept aims to show the possibilities of using new materials in the construction of automobiles. Okay, maybe not completely new materials, but existing materials in new ways. Weight reduction was one of the main goals of the concept and they’ve managed to achieve that by using a lot of plastic components in place of metal counterparts. The seat frame, for example, is one area where the use of polymers, recycled materials and thermoplastics have resulted in significant weight loss. Most of the interior surfaces are made of a polymer called Elastollan which gives an abrasion-proof material in a variety of light to dark colours.
The engine is encased in a rigid foam that not only insulates and protects the engine, but also retains engine heat for a boost in efficiency. In the exhaust, there are thermoelectric converters which utilise the heat from the exhaust gases to power auxiliary systems.
The car also showcases various other BASF technologies like mirror-finish paints, synthetic soft-touch materials and the like. With techniques like this, a manufacturer can meet stringent emmisssions norms without completely redesigning a vehicle.