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What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about an auto show? Carousels of cutting-edge concept cars? Sweeping suicide doors? Custom wheels and rims? Whichever images comes to mind, the latest innovations in energy efficiency – plastic wheels, lightweight thermoplastics and polyurethanes – are likely not among them.
Yet, energy efficiency – a major triumph of chemistry – seems to have become a permanent fixture in the “buff and shine” of today’s eco-conscious auto shows. And at this year’s North American International Auto Show, chemistry company BASF is showing off some of the most exciting energy-efficient products ever to be found on four wheels. Just take a look at this plastic carbon composite spoiler on the back of an Audi R8 GT.
Beate Ehle, president of market and business development at BASF North America, was pleased that her chemical company could play such a prominent role at the Motor City classic:
[quote]The North American International Auto Show provides BASF with a great opportunity to showcase our innovations that will help automakers differentiate their vehicles and at the same time make the vehicles more sustainable and energy-efficient.[/quote]
You might recall that Daimler brought BASF on board last year to help engineer the lightweight design and intelligent energy system behind the Smart Forvision concept car, which became all the rave at the Frankfurt auto show last September.
BASF put a slew of other innovative products on display at this year’s auto show in Detroit, including the world’s first full plastic wheel concept – weighing in at 30 percent lighter than a standard production aluminum wheel – as well as a new line of heat-resistant plastics that could conceivably replace engine metal, reducing both cost and weight.
Behind BASF, however, you’ll find there’s an entire industry busily creating the next generation of products that will make our cars lighter, more fuel efficient and environmentally sound. And, sooner than you may think, they’ll no longer be spinning on a carousel – they’ll have hit the road.
Be sure to check out Plastics Make it Possible for more photos from the Detroit Auto Show!
Photo via gupta-verlag.com
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