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BASF steps up R&D for sustainable electromobility products

Batteries are the key technology for electromobility of the future. Over the next five years, BASF (Ludwigshafen, Germany) will be investing a three-digit million euro sum in researching, developing and the production of battery materials. In parallel, the company is developing new structural plastic materials and plastic-based heat management solutions for electric vehicles.

Batteries are the key technology for electromobility of the future. Over the next five years, BASF (Ludwigshafen, Germany) will be investing a three-digit million euro sum in researching, developing and the production of battery materials. In parallel, the company is developing new structural plastic materials and plastic-based heat management solutions for electric vehicles.

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Plastic solutions can cut more weight out of electric vehicles
Lightweight construction and intelligent heat management reduce energy consumption in electric vehicles. To compensate for the additional battery weight of about 200 kg and allow for an acceptable driving range, the weight of electric vehicles must be reduced through lightweight construction components. This naturally places new demands on the materials, including completely new properties in terms of temperature stability, electromagnetic screening and fire resistance. Although plastics already contribute greatly to vehicular weight savings when incorporated in the chassis, interior and engine compartment, further multifunctional lightweight construction concepts are needed. For example, BASF is working on fast-curing epoxy, polyurethane and polyamide resins for fiber reinforced composites to be used in the manufacture of lightweight vehicle bodies. These materials can provide further weight savings of up to 100 to 150 kilograms in structural components and chassis.

BASF also offers solutions for improving heat management in electric cars. "When the temperatures rise in summer, the car's air conditioner consumes additional energy reducing the vehicles driving range," explains Andreas Kreimeyer, member of the Board of Executive Directors and Research Executive Director of BASF SE.

When incorporated in interiors and automotive coatings, pigments that reflect the heat-generating infrared rays of sunlight prevent the temperature from getting too high inside the car. And while the combustion engine provides exhaust heat in winter, an electric vehicle consumes electricity to heat the interior. To keep energy consumption low under these conditions, it is necessary to insulate electrical vehicles against the cold with high performance foams. This also increases the car's driving range.

"With our research activities we are substantially contributing to making electric cars affordable, environment friendly and sustainable. For this we need batteries and further innovative components that provide a greater driving range with less weight and lower costs," says Kreimeyer.-[email protected]

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