At the Geneva Motor Show held last month Hyundai and BASF presented their jointly developed i-flow concept car. The technologies and materials involved have not been combined in automobiles to date and illustrate possibilities for mobility in the future, according to BASF. For example, the interior of the i-flow offers a revolutionary seating concept, and the high-gloss liquid metal coating is not only eye-catching but also environmentally friendly due to the use of a waterborne paint system.
A concept for the seat frame of the i-flow provides an example for how lightweight construction materials can help conserve resources. It features Ultramid Balance, a polyamide that consists of 60 percent of renewable raw materials, as well as other thermoplastics and energy-absorbing foams. The joint goal was to save as much weight as possible by using plastic components.
Elastollan, a thermo-plastic polyurethane elastomer, can be used for high-quality surfaces. It is abrasion-proof and can be produced in a wide range of both light and dark interior colors. The BASF polyurethanes material Elastoskin is used for the dashboard and for interior automotive parts.
The i-flow’s energy concept in its modern diesel engine is encapsulated with a rigid foam polyurethane insulation system that protects both the engine and the environment. On short trips and in city traffic especially, engines are slow to reach the optimum operating temperature or cool down quickly. The thermal engine insulation lessens this effect, reducing both emissions and fuel consumption. In addition, a harvesting system using the thermoelectric effect converts heat from the exhaust gases into electrical energy that helps power auxiliary systems. This results in significant fuel savings.
A new catalyst from BASF combines four technologies to cut emissions in just two components. As a result, it is possible to satisfy increasingly stringent emission standards for automobiles. At the same time, the new solution saves both weight and space.
Passive heat management can be used to reduce energy consumption even further. For example, a wide range of infrared-transparent and infrared-reflecting pigments in the car interior result in cooler plastic surfaces for the dashboard, seat and center console. Pigments from BASF’s Sicotan, Sicopal and Lumogen ranges provide very dark or black surfaces that remain distinctly cooler when exposed to sunlight.
Modern vehicle interiors aim for maximum comfort. The BASF innovation Steron is a soft-touch coating technology. Various textures even with a high complexity can be designed, varying from soft velvet to a smooth silky touch, always keeping a natural feel.
Lastly, a brilliant effect is provided by a new mirror-like paint from BASF Coatings. The Liquid Metal basecoat makes the i-flow look as though it is chrome-plated rather than painted. In addition, the innovative iGloss clearcoat makes the paint surface both scratch-resistant and weather-resistant.