Hyundai and BASF - The Chemical Company are presenting their jointly developed i-flow concept car at the Geneva Motor Show. Visitors can get a first-hand view of the technologies and materials involved at Hyundai's booth 1031 in Hall 1. These innovations have not been combined in automobiles to date and illustrate possibilities for mobility in the future. For example, the interior of the i-flow offers a revolutionary seating concept, and the high-gloss Liquid Metal coating is not only eye-catching but also environmentally friendly thanks to the use of a waterborne paint system.
"The i-flow is a milestone on the road to the car of the future. Because Hyundai was quick to involve us in the development process, we were able to offer our full strengths. We are very happy with the outstanding results of our cooperation," said Dr. Wolfgang Hapke, head of BASF's Performance Polymers division, at the presentation of the new concept car in Geneva on Wednesday. "BASF proved to be a true partner, with whom we jointly developed innovative solutions for design and engineering. For example, our new 'fluidic sculpture' body language is particular well expressed by the innovative coating technique used for the i-flow concept car," explained Thomas Bürkle, head of Hyundai's European design center.
BASF's contributions to the i-flow allow greater fuel efficiency, a lower environmental impact, freedom of design as well as greater comfort and safety. As a result, the concept car offers important new approaches to sustainable mobility.
A concept for the seat frame of the i-flow provides an example for how lightweight construction materials can help conserve resources. It fea-tures Ultramid Balance, a polyamide that consists to 60 percent of re-newable raw materials, as well as other thermoplastics and energy-absorbing foams. The joint goal was to save as much weight as possi-ble by using plastic components.
Luquafleece is a moisture-absorbing material: When incorporated into seats it ensures that drivers and their passengers enjoy a pleasant seating climate even at the height of summer. Elastollan, a thermo-plastic polyurethane elastomer, can be used for high-quality surfaces. It is abrasion-proof and can be produced in a wide range of both light and dark interior colors. The BASF polyurethanes material Elastoskin is used for the dashboard and for interior automotive parts. It is character-ized by an exceptional optic and haptics, combined with a pleasant soft touch. At the same time it provides the highest freedom in design for colors, textures and geometries.
The i-flow's energy concept provides an impressive example of high tech. The modern diesel engine is encapsulated with a rigid foam poly-urethane insulation system that protects both the engine and the envi-ronment. On short trips and in city traffic especially, engines are slow to reach the optimum operating temperature or cool down quickly. The thermal engine insulation lessens this effect, reducing both emissions and fuel consumption. In addition, a harvesting system using the ther-moelectric effect converts heat from the exhaust gases into electrical energy that helps power auxiliary systems. This results in significant fuel savings.
A new catalyst from BASF combines four technologies to cut emissions in just two components. As a result, it is possible to satisfy increasingly stringent emission standards for automobiles at a relatively favorable cost. At the same time, the new solution saves both weight and space.
Passive heat management can be used to reduce energy consumption even further. For example, a wide range of infrared-transparent and infrared-reflecting pigments in the car interior result in cooler plastic sur-faces for the dashboard, seat and center console. Pigments from BASF's Sicotan, Sicopal and Lumogen ranges provide very dark or black surfaces that remain distinctly cooler when exposed to sunlight. The result: greater comfort and less energy for air conditioning.
Modern vehicle interiors aim for maximum comfort. The BASF innova-tion Steron is a soft-touch coating technology. Various textures even with a high complexity can be designed, varying from soft velvet to a smooth silky touch, always keeping a natural feel.
A literally brilliant effect is provided by a new mirror-like paint from BASF Coatings: The Liquid Metal basecoat makes the i-flow look as though it is chrome-plated rather than painted. In addition, the innova-tive iGloss clearcoat makes the paint surface both scratch-resistant and weather-resistant.
The i-flow demonstrates the current state-of-the-art in the development of new materials and technologies for automotive construction. As the chemical industry's largest automotive supplier, BASF and its innova-tions are making an important contribution to the car of the future.