All plastic wheels for Smart car

All plastic wheels for Smart car
Automotive manufacturer Daimler has teamed up with BASF to develop all plastic wheels for use on its Smart car. The concept is driven by a desire to reduce weight.

The wheels use a high performance polyamide composite with long reinforcing fibres to improve mechanical properties and give thermal and chemical stability, dynamic strength, toughness and good continuous operating characteristics. Initial product tests show the potential for the wheels to be used in production, and the material is also suitable for high-volume manufacture.

The development is part of a wider design collaboration by the two to develop the Smart car for the future, called the Fortwo. With energy efficiency and lightweight design being the key design drivers, another concept that is being assessed is having solar cells embedded in the roof.

Even in diffused light and poor light conditions the transparent dyes of the solar cells can generate enough energy to power the multimedia components and assist with climate management of the vehicle interior.

Dr. Annette Winkler, head of Smart said: "With the clear objective of greatly increasing the zero-emission range we concerned ourselves with all factors that influence this on the vehicle. This resulted in completely new concepts and materials in the areas of insulation, reflection, lightweight design and energy management.

"In conjunction with smart's revolutionary DNA, we have designed a vehicle that is so unique that we can't wait to take it out of the research laboratory and onto the roads."

Justin Cunningham

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