Covestro and GAC R&D Centre jointly develop lightweight construction concept for seat backs

Jan 15, 2020   Tier Suppliers

Covestro has partnered with the Research and Development Centre of Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd. (GAC R&D Centre) to develop a lightweight composite seat back for the Chinese car manufacturer's latest electric concept car, the ENO.146. The vehicle recently made its debut at the Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition.

The backrests of the two front seats of the concept car are made of Maezio CFRTP, the reinforced thermoplastic composite material from Covestro. It is estimated that the composite seat backrest can save up to 50% in weight compared to typical metal constructions.


“Seats in the passenger compartment are an ideal target for weight savings, as they are among the heaviest parts there,” said Lisa Ketelsen, Head of Covestro's Thermoplastic Composites Business  “Fibre reinforced composites are the ideal material for lightweight automotive construction, but Maezio can further simplify molding and streamline the manufacturing process.”


In the case of a seat with a metal backrest, fittings and other attachments add to the complexity of production and assembly. Since Maezio is a thermoplastic material, parts and functions can be consolidated by injection molding processing. Functional structures are incorporated into the mould for shaping the backrest, reducing the number of parts and materials.


From the CMF (Colour, Material, Finish) perspective, the design of the vehicle interior in ENO.146 was inspired by nature. According to Stephen Chen, Chief Designer in Advanced Design, GAC R&D Centre, the choice of green colour and various sustainable materials is intended to recreate the ambience of a lake with lotus flowers. The surface pattern of the front of the seat, for example, is designed to resemble that of lotus leaves.


“The backrest must fit into this design concept as a visible component, so the material must have a natural look and feel and high aesthetic value, and it must also be recyclable,” said Stephen Chen.


And this is exactly where Maezio comes in. This thermoplastic composite material can be cut and shaped at will to be reused at the end of its service life, giving it a unique marble-like appearance and a high quality look and feel, making it a sustainable material choice that fits perfectly into the design concept of the vehicle.

Don't miss out

Be the first to know about the latest news in the automotive and transportation industry, through our weekly mailer and bi-monthly publications.

Automotive Purchasing and Supply Chain
New Mobility
Automotive Global Awards
Automotive Leaders Summit
Future Logistics
Automotive Purchasing and Supply Chain | Three6Zero Ltd© 2004-2020