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Best in Automotive Innovation: Body Exterior Category

Rivian is among the finalists in this year’s awards program.

Stephen Moore

October 26, 2023

1 Min Read
thermoplastic split-gate rear-closure system
Image courtesy of Rivian

The Automotive Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) has unveiled the finalists for its 52nd annual Automotive Innovation Awards. The Body Exterior category features four worthy entries from GM, electric vehicle maker Nio, Hyundai, and Rivian, whose entry is profiled below.

Category: Body Exterior

Thermoplastic Split-gate

  • OEM make and model: 2023 Rivian LLC Rivian R1S

  • Tier supplier and processor: Magna International

  • Material supplier: Advanced Composites

  • Toolmaker: Tycos Tool & Die

  • Material: Long-glass-fiber polypropylene (LGFPP)

  • Process: Injection molding

This is the world’s first all-thermoplastic split-gate rear-closure system, which is delivered to the assembly line as a ready-to-install module. The complex, deep-draw (>80 mm) design offers improved perceived quality at lower mass, NVH, and cost versus metal constructions and is offered in a two-tone execution.

By commonizing grades between the liftgate and benchgate and focusing on sustainability, parts were reduced from nine to three with the use of just two materials injection molded long fiber thermoplastic PP and thermoplastic polyolefin elastomer. The center high-mount stop lamp and taillamps were carried over from the pickup model.

All of the finalists in the Aftermarket category are featured in this slide show.

About the Author(s)

Stephen Moore

Stephen has been with PlasticsToday and its preceding publications Modern Plastics and Injection Molding since 1992, throughout this time based in the Asia Pacific region, including stints in Japan, Australia, and his current location Singapore. His current beat focuses on automotive. Stephen is an avid folding bicycle rider, often taking his bike on overseas business trips, and is a proud dachshund owner.

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