Coverstro has brought a new tool to automotive designer’s toolbox for designing unique appearances through unidirectional carbon fiber optics and a high-quality surface offered by the polycarbonate matrix, Maezio continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites. They have given the ES8 and ES6, the all-electric SUVs from Chinese Electric Vehicle startup NIO, a boost on the wheels. Coverstro will present wheel blades made from thermoplastic composite at the K2019 plastics trade fair to be held from October 16 to October 23 in Dusseldorf.
The wheels have aluminum rims opt-in carbon fiber blade inserts, designed to lend the vehicle a high-end aesthetic appeal with a lightweight flavor and improved aerodynamics.
Maezio composites are a very unique material because they kind of redefine how beauty is associated with carbon fibers,” says Yanbing Wang, Senior CMF designer from NIO. “They have set a new aesthetic direction with the unidirectional strands of fibers that remind me of the flowing shapes of rocks within the Antelope Canyon. It feels dynamic and full of energy.”
The composite wheel blades have a coating that helps it to withstand rigorous safety and performance requirements, such as impact, chemical and weather resistance. The Makrolon polycarbonate on which Maezio is based displays high thermal stability qualities so the wheel blade insert can survive braking-induced temperatures of up to 150 degree Celsius.
The composites of Maezio can be cut and remelted for reuse at the end of life, or reground into short fiber compounds and used in an injection molding process, making them a sustainable material choice for EV manufacturers to further improve their sustainability scorecard.
“We have proved with this major breakthrough that Maezio composites are a technically and commercially viable material solution in automotive exterior applications,” says Lisa Ketelson, head of the thermoplastic composite business of Covestro. “The end result is a newly defined aesthetic direction and benchmark for thermoplastic composites in automotive. We look forward to helping the automotive industry scale new heights with the benefits thermoplastic composites have to offer.”