All-plastic windows make new electric concept vehicle lighter

The concept vehicle – a joint effort by Munich University, leading automotive companies, and further industry partners – is a very light electric car that is safe, efficient and mass-marketable. The plastic windows help to improve vehicle handling, security and acceleration, while minimizing the overall vehicle weight.
Visio.M polycarbonate windows (Copyright SABIC)In comparison to conventional window glass, the special polycarbonate material  reduces the weight of the car by over 13 kilograms and extends its driving range by up to two kilometres for a single battery charge. An additional 15 kilometres in extended range are made possible by the window material’s superior insulating properties that reduce demands on the vehicle’s heating and air conditioning system.
Visio.M polycarbonate windows ©SABIC

In addition, the reduced weight of the plastic windows helps to increase the vehicle’s handling and stability by lowering its centre of gravity. The lighter weight also means that the car needs less energy to accelerate at a quicker rate. Moreover, the plastic material has up to 100 times the impact resistance of glass. Hence, in terms of security, the vehicle windows can reduce risk from theft.

Further on, the car features front side moving windows, rear quarter windows and a backlite, all produced with polycarbonate resin and coating technologies enhancing weatherability.

The concept vehicle windows were currently designed to use plastic and glass for testing and comparisons purposes. However, had they been designed solely from plastic (PC), additional energy efficiency gains could have been achieved. Its greater shape flexibility allows for curvatures, while the aerodynamic features and 3D styling contribute to minimising drag. Part consolidation and integration possibilities with separate components such as mirrors, lightning; pillars and spoilers, are also enabled by the greater design freedom that plastics offer.

Click here for more info about plastics in the automotive industry.
Did you know ?
  • If the EU stops sending plastics to landfill, 1bn barrels of oil could be saved, saving a total of 80bn EUR. © Antoine Taveneaux