Changing Customer Mindset Alongwith Regulatory Compliances Push the Demand for Polymeric Automotive Interior Materials

The global automotive sector is subject to changing customer trends, with personalized mobility – design and functionality – leading the pack. With customer experience emerging as a paramount aspect, automakers are walking an extra mile to serve the demanding situation with catchy aesthetics in the automotive interiors. In addition, top-notch automotive interior materials are witnessing huge traction following the synergy between exterior and interior functionalities improves the performance quo.

Regulatory bodies across the globe are instituting amendments for enhanced fuel efficiency in tandem with reduced emissions. As such, car manufacturers are focusing on the production of autonomous and electric vehicles. The progressive reliance on driverless and e-vehicles is fueling the demand for lightweight automotive interior materials to comply with government policies.

Manufacturers are hunting for reduction in cost and weight while designing automobiles. Polymer materials offer the feature of customization, as such, carmakers will be banking on polymer composites for customized automotive interiors. Materials, including polypropylene, are receiving regulatory approvals following recyclability.

Polycarbonate for Enhanced Aesthetics and Performance of Automotive Interiors

Color, light, haptics, and surfaces govern the quality of automobiles interior. Polycarbonate (PC) material produce aesthetic interiors, including instrument panels, light guides, and leather-like interior surfaces.  PC films are utilized to form 3D elements in interior automotive applications, such as speedometer dials. Further, polycarbonate automotive interior materials provide the suitable combination of high mechanical performance, surface quality and long-lastingness at elevated temperatures to ensure peak performance of automotive interior materials.

PC films support in managing the transmission, diffusion, reflection and direction of light inside the automobile. In addition, the coatings are finding purpose in automotive interiors in light of special properties- matte, textured, and glossy. With the electric vehicles making forays, the dependence on polycarbonate (PC) consumption is expected to amplify at a sweeping rate, as PC will be used in designing sensors, and LEDs in vehicles.

Polyurethane Foam for Improved Passenger Experience

With polyurethane (PU) molding foam, automotive interior designers are able to couple the instrument panel retainer with an attractive coating. The PU material enhances productivity owing to good fluidity and rapid de-molding frequency. The technique enables integrated production of complex contours to reduce expenses.

Polyurethane absorbs impact energy in case of accidents, saving passengers from injuries. Instrument panels made with PU complement passenger experience by improving noise abatement, and assuring low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) discharges in automobile interiors. Further, the aspect of good wear and scratch resistance makes the material suitable for designing door handles, cup holders, and gear knobs.

Polypropylene and Polyethylene for Lightweight Automotive Interior Components

High costs associated with ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) are paving way for cost-efficient polypropylene (PP) composites with better features.  Manufacturers are leveraging PP demand to design automotive interiors, replacing the metal components. Upsurge in production of EVs corresponds to increasing demand for lightweight components in a bid to offset the weight of the heavy batteries.

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However, HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) is being utilized in designing gas tanks of combustion vehicles as a substitute of steel in developing countries. Yet, EVs persist to rely on polyethylene (PE) for developing engine parts as the property of high temperature resistance of composite polymers is not necessary in electric battery engines.