PALO ALTO, CALIF. (May 30, 12 p.m. ET) — With electric vehicle production set to experience compound annual growth of more than 80 percent until 2017, plastics used in these vehicles will also see a tremendous growth, according to the latest research from Frost & Sullivan Inc. of Palo Alto.
“Strategic Analysis of Plastics in the Electric Vehicles Market in Europe and North America,” predicts plastics revenue from the sector will reach $73 million by 2017, up from $500,000 in 2010.
The use of plastics in electric vehicles is “driven by lightweighting trends which, in turn, are fueled by the need to improve EV mile range,” said Frost & Sullivan research analyst Shree Vidhyaa Karunanidhi. “EVs are typically characterized 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.”
Strength and crash-resistance requirements indicate metals will remain the preferred material for gears and motors. However, plastics have huge potential in some minor, non-moving components such as energy-recovery devices, cooling pipes, pumps, fans and casing materials.
The current level of penetration of plastics in those components varies. In the case of cooling pipes and fans, plastics are preferred, whereas for other components such as energy-recovery devices (pedals and pumps) and casing materials, plastics have low to moderate penetration. The inherent features of plastics are, nonetheless, set to push their rapid growth rate in those segments, the study said.