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Electric vehicles ‘tremendous’ market for plastics

United States – Increased production of electric vehicles (EV), projected to expand more than 80% by 2017 across Europe and Northern America, will result in a ‘€˜tremendous rise’€™ in applications for plastics, according to new analysis from Frost & Sullivan.

The US research consultancy says the need to improve EV mile range, paired with the inherent capabilities of plastics, will be the key driving force behind this development, with lightweight materials especially soaring in popularity.

‘€˜EVs are typically characterised by huge batteries which add to the overall weight of the vehicle and affect the mile range. To compensate for the battery weight, metals are increasingly being substituted by plastic,’€™ explained Frost & Sullivan analyst Shree Vidhyaa Karunanidhi. She added that minor non-moving components, such as energy recovery devices, cooling pipes, pumps and fans, represented ‘€˜huge potential’€™.

The report, covering plastics components used in a wide range of applications from power trains and battery casings to thermal management systems, says there will be a high degree of technical challenge involved in serving this market. It is predicted that 25 000 tonnes of technical plastics will be required by 2017, compared with just 200 tonnes in 2010, and the market will increase from US$ 500 000 to US$ 73 million.

Mrs Karunanidhi cautioned, however, that the low current usage of plastics in some of these advanced applications in EVs in comparison with conventional, petrol-fuelled vehicles ‘€˜poses a major restraint to market prospects. And EU end-of-life vehicle (ELV) recycling legislation, which entails the use of recyclable materials, poses another challenge to market participants.’€™


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