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Innovative lightweight construction concept for seat backs

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Mobility trends such as electrification and autonomous driving are redefining the role and function of automotive interiors. Maezio® continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites are enabling lightweight and sustainable material solutions to address those trends while opening new avenues for creating new user experiences.

Task

A new electric car concept

The Research and Development Center of Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. Ltd. (GAC R&D Center) set out to design one of the world’s most aerodynamically efficient vehicles. While a fully aerodynamic design would be the key in meeting such performance targets, GAC R&D Center was also looking for lightweight and sustainable materials to curtail the weight of the car for improving the range while raising the bar on sustainability. Specifically when it comes to the interior, seats are an ideal target for weight savings because they are at the top of the list driving weight.
A GAC designer explains the role of composites in enabling lightweight and sustainable designs
Challenge

Beyond weight savings

Fiber-reinforced composites are the go-to material for lightweight performance in automotive, but GAC R&D Center was looking for more than just weight savings. The material also needs to be recyclable, and on top of that, has a unique surface appearance that fits into the design concept of the interior, which took its inspiration from the nature. According to Stephen Chen, Chief Designer of Advanced Design, the choice of the green color and various sustainable materials in the interior is meant to recreate the ambience of a lake with lotus flowers. The surface pattern of the seat front, for example, is made to resemble that of the lotus leaves.
Solution

A versatile material

This is where Maezio® continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites come in. Used in the seat back of the concept car, named as ENO.146, the material is estimated to have achieved up to 50% in weight savings. It also further simplifies molding and streamlines the manufacturing process by consolidating parts and features through in-mold processing. Being thermoplastics, the material can be cut and reformed for reuse at the end of life while creating a unique marble-like appearance with a premium look and feel, making them a sustainable material choice that fits perfectly into the design concept of the vehicle.

“Mobility trends such as electrification and autonomous driving are redefining the role and function of automotive interiors. There’s a growing need for material solutions that are lightweight and sustainable, while opening new avenues for creating new user experiences from visual to haptic feedback.”

Fan Zhang

Vice President, GAC R&D Center

Why Maezio® is the perfect solution for the seat back?

  • Lightweight Estimated to achieve up to 50% in weight savings
  • Sustainable Sustainable solution thanks to outstanding material recyclability
  • Aesthetically attractive Creating a unique marble-like appearance after being cut and reformed for reuse
  • Efficient production Consolidating parts and features through in-mold processing

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