[TMS] Hyundai Exhibits Demonstration Vehicle Using Sabic's New Materials

Oct 31, 2007
Motohiko Hamada, Nikkei Monozukuri and Tsunenori Tomioka, Nikkei Monozukuri
Hyundai Motor's QarmaQ
Hyundai Motor's QarmaQ
[Click to enlarge image]
Three energy absorbers
Three energy absorbers
[Click to enlarge image]

Hyundai Motor Co of Korea exhibited a crossover coupe QarmaQ at the 40th Tokyo Motor Show.

The car was designed at Hyundai Motor Company's European Design and Technical Center in Russelsheim, Germany with technical cooperation from Sabic Innovative Plastics Holding BV (formerly GE Plastics) of Saudi Arabia. Hyundai plans to apply technologies used in this coupe to its new models slated for launch in 2008-2014. According to Hyundai, QarmaQ can actually run, although it was exhibited as a vehicle to demonstrate new technologies.

The windows are made of Lexan, a polycarbonate resin developed by Sabic, instead of using glass. Compared to glass, it can be as much as 50% lighter, with greater shock resistance and greater flexibility in shaping. Taking advantage of the flexibility, a large C-letter shaped window is provided so that the driver can visually check below the window just like a helicopter. The entire body surface is coated with Exatec, a coating material available from Sabic. Exatec forms a thin glass protective coat against scratches. It also helps to cool down the interior by reflecting heat, thereby reducing the load on the air conditioner. However, because the latest car is design-oriented, it is not provided with safety measures against lateral collision. Safety assessment is absolutely necessary to employ such a design in a commercial model, the company said.

The front fender is a one-piece component manufactured by injection molding. Three built-in energy absorbers are mounted under the front end of the vehicle body. These absorbers have different kinds of energy absorption performances. When the car collides with a pedestrian, they absorb and disperse the impact force. The absorbers are designed to meet EEVC WG17 Phase2, Euro NCAP and JNCAP pedestrian impact requirements. They are now in the final evaluation stage.

Sabic's composite material called IXIS is used for the horizontal body panel to reduce the mass by up to 50%. The material has strength comparable with a steel plate and an excellent energy absorption performance. It is the first time for Sabic to employ its resin product for a large horizontal body panel such as the engine hood. Unique features of IXIS, namely a small thermal expansion coefficient, lightweightness and high rigidity, spurred the adoption, the company said. Other body panels are made of Sabic's recycled plastics Xenoy iQ and Valox iQ. About 900 recycled PET bottles are used in one QarmaQ. To eliminate the dependence on PVC in the wiring, Sabic's insulating coating material Noryl is used for the wires and cables. The material can provide an ultrathin coat and reduces the weight of the cable by up to 25%.

With the use of many advanced materials, QarmaQ is approximately 60kg lighter than a vehicle made of the existing materials. The amount of resin used in one QarmaQ reportedly reaches 90kg. New York-based firm GreenOrder Inc conducted an audit on QarmaQ and discovered that 60kg reduction can save 80L of diesel fuel annually and reduce more than 200kg of greenhouse effect gas emissions per year.