Detroit — Magna International Inc.'s new electric vehicle exterior technologies feature plastic components to integrate advanced driving (ADAS) systems, lighting designs and aerodynamic functions that can improve vehicle range.
The supplier's new Mezzo Panel is compression injection molded, giving it a "traditional depth, like an open-air grille for an internal combustion engine," Mark Hess, global product technical manager at Magna, told Plastics News at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Compression injection molding allows Magna "to get the depth changes in the wall stock," Hess said, giving it the appearance of a traditional grille, while maintaining a smooth front that is lightweight and aerodynamic "by being one piece vs. layered pieces."
Traditional automotive brands "want to keep their branding moving into the EV space," he said.
The Mezzo Panel features "hidden-until-lit lighting," meaning the surface looks smooth until lighting is activated, allowing for animated lighting options for brand distinction or communicating vehicle intent.
"Some of the more traditional OEMs like the light-off brand recognition," Hess said.
Compression injection molding allows the manufacturer to add metal deposition, paint or in-mold film for visible branding and decorations that add a "level of distinction without a big tooling change for the OEMs," he said.