Electric and hydrogen vehicles, the pillars of sustainable mobility, are increasingly relying on plastic. This material, far from being just a simple component, has become an essential element thanks to its lightness, versatility and resistance. As the industry moves forward, research into innovative plastics promises more efficient and sustainable vehicles.
In this context, our company, Gestión de Compras, is positioned as a leader in the sector. We have extensive experience and the necessary resources to develop projects involving plastic parts in these vehicles. Our commitment is to promote the mobility of the future, guaranteeing quality and efficiency at every stage of the process.
Use and advantages of plastic parts in electric and hydrogen cars:
Weight reduction: one of the main advantages of using plastics in vehicle manufacturing is weight reduction. Electric and hydrogen vehicles especially benefit from this, as less weight means greater energy efficiency and longer range.
Corrosion resistance: Plastics are inherently corrosion resistant, which is essential for vehicles using electric batteries or hydrogen fuel cells, as these systems can be corrosive.
Design flexibility: Plastics offer great flexibility in terms of design, allowing manufacturers to create innovative shapes and structures that may not be possible with traditional materials.
Electrical insulation: Since electric and hydrogen vehicles rely heavily on electrical systems, it is crucial that certain parts of the vehicle offer electrical resistance. Plastics are excellent electrical insulators, making them ideal for use in these vehicles.
Cost: In many cases, the use of plastics can result in reduced costs compared to other materials, which can help reduce the overall price of electric and hydrogen vehicles.
Recyclability: As the automotive industry moves toward more sustainable practices, the ability to recycle materials becomes increasingly crucial. Many plastics used in vehicle manufacturing can be recycled, reducing environmental impact.
Specific components: In electric and hydrogen vehicles, certain components, such as battery housings, electrical connectors, fuel cell tubing and insulators, are often made from plastics because of their unique properties.
Where are plastic parts found in these vehicles?
- Battery casings: Batteries are an essential component in electric vehicles. Battery casings made of plastics provide protection and insulation, and also help reduce the overall weight of the vehicle.
- Thermal management system components: Thermal management systems ensure that batteries operate in an optimal temperature range. Ducts, valves and other components of these systems are typically made of heat-resistant plastic.
- Tubing and piping: In hydrogen vehicles, the pipes and conduits that transport hydrogen from the tanks to the fuel cells are usually made of plastic, due to their corrosion resistance and electrical insulation.
- Electrical insulators: Connectors, terminals and other electrical components use plastics as insulators to prevent short circuits and protect against electric shock.
- Interior and exterior panels: Door panels, instrument panels, consoles and other interior and exterior components can be made of reinforced plastics to provide strength and durability.
- Electric motor housings: Electric motors, which are the heart of electric vehicles, can have plastic housings to reduce weight and provide insulation.
- Lighting components: The housings and lenses of vehicle lights, both internal and external, are often made of clear, durable plastics.
- Fluid reservoirs: Reservoirs for fluids such as coolant, brake fluid and windshield washer fluid are often made of plastic because of their corrosion resistance and formability.
- Sealants and gaskets: Sealants and gaskets made of plastic or plastic elastomers are used in various parts of the vehicle to prevent leakage and provide a tight seal.
- Fuel cell parts: In hydrogen vehicles, certain parts of the fuel cell, such as plates and membranes, may be made of special plastic materials.
What are the most suitable plastic materials?
- Polypropylene (PP): It is one of the most widely used plastics in the automotive industry due to its versatility, strength and light weight. It is used in interior parts, such as instrument panels, and also in exterior components, such as bumpers and moldings.
- Polyethylene (PE): It is corrosion resistant and is mainly used in the manufacture of fuel tanks and pipes.
- Polyamide (PA or Nylon): It has high thermal resistance and is used in components close to the engine and in thermal management systems.
- Polyethylene terephthalate (PET): A tough, transparent plastic used in lighting components and some types of tubing and conduit.
- Polyurethane (PU): Flexible and abrasion resistant, used in sealants, gaskets and insulation.
- Polyesters: These are resistant to chemicals and are used in battery casings and parts of fuel cell systems.
- Polyphenylene Phenylene Oxide (PPO) and Polyphenylene Ether (PPE): These are engineering plastics that offer heat and chemical resistance. They are used in electrical components and thermal management systems.
- Polycarbonate (PC): A transparent, impact-resistant plastic. It is used in lighting components and windows.
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC): It is corrosion resistant and is used in wiring and certain pipes and conduits.
- High-density polyethylene (HDPE): Has high chemical resistance and is used in tanks and containers.
- High-temperature polymers: Such as PEEK (polyether ether ether ketone) and PEI (polyetherimide), they are used in components that require high temperature resistance, such as parts of fuel cells.
These are just a few examples of the many types of plastics used in the automotive industry. Each material has specific properties that make it suitable for certain applications, and advances in plastics technology continue to expand the possibilities for their use in electric and hydrogen vehicles. If you are interested in learning more about the possibilities of plastics in these types of vehicles or if you would like to develop your project, please contact Gestión de Compras.