The need to increase EV mile range, paralleled by the inherent advantages of plastics – particularly that of lightweight – will drive penetration rates.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Strategic Analysis of Plastics in the Electric Vehicles Market in Europe and North America, finds that the market earned revenues of $ 0.5 million in 2010 and estimates this to reach $ 73 million in 2017.
As the electric vehicles market takes off, it is set to have a positive ripple effect on the uptake of plastics.
Important structural components such as gears and motors are made of metal. Strength and crash-resistance requirements indicate that metals will remain the preferred material for these applications. However, plastics have huge potential in some of the minor, non-moving components such as energy recovery devices, cooling pipes, pumps, fans, and casing materials.
The current level of penetration of plastics in these components varies. In the case of cooling pipes and fans, plastics are preferred, whereas for other components such as energy recovery devices (pedal and pump) and casing materials, plastics have low to moderate penetration. The inherent features of plastics are, nonetheless, set to push their rapid growth rate in these segments.
Although thermoplastics used in these cars are recyclable, automotive shredders are typically made up of different types of plastics. These need to be sorted out before they are recyclable.
Therefore, on the one hand there is a need for lightweight cars to improve the mile range in EVs. On the other hand, end-of-life vehicle (ELV) recycling legislation requires the OEMs to use recyclable materials.