The NIO ES8 stole the show in October at the joint Borealis and Borouge K 2019 stand. This sleek and stylish premium SUV is the flagship model of the successful Chinese EV maker NIO. It embodies the many ways in which Borealis and Borouge are supporting the global automotive industry by engineering lighter weight, high-performance solutions for a growing range of automotive parts, while at the same time allowing for more design freedom and customization.
The centre console structure is just one of the numerous interior and exterior NIO ES8 parts made using Borealis and Borouge grades. This novel and useful design feature can be used among other things for stowing larger handbags, and is formed using Fibremod™ CB201SY, one of the ultra-lightweight grades in the Fibremod™ family of carbon-fibre filled polypropylene (PP) compounds. The use of this grade offers significant added value: a 20% reduction in part weight (when compared to use of conventional PP long glass fibre 40); good dimensional stability for a larger part of these dimensions; high stiffness; and suitability for injection moulding.
Innovative thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) compounds in the Daplen™ portfolio were used to make other low-density parts in the NIO ES8, including front and rear bumpers, door panel and map pocket, and the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) brackets.
Nicholas Kolesch, Borealis Head of Marketing Automotive, has described the NIO ES8 project as a “textbook case on what can be achieved through collaboration and innovation on a global scale.” Borealis and Borouge worked in close partnership with NIO and its Tier One suppliers to deliver on a range of requirements for this premium model, including high structural performance for parts, quality and consistency of materials, maximum vehicle range, and light-weighting solutions that mitigate the high battery weight.
Working together, the partners determined the most suitable solutions for a variety of interior and exterior parts. Extensive modelling and simulation was carried out by Borealis and Borouge experts in both Europe and China. Ultimately, by using innovative grades supplied from the Borealis and Borouge global network, NIO has been able to achieve the desired superior parts performance along with reduced component weight – all while adhering to its unique design vision for the model.
“The buzz generated by the NIO ES8 at our stand was gratifying to see,” says Nicholas Kolesch. “This SUV is not only stunning at first glance: taking an even closer look reveals how the use of innovative material solutions like Fibremod Carbon can help lighten the load of electric vehicles. This is an essential contribution to overall CO2 reduction. The success of this model is proof positive that our expanded range of options for weight saving, performance, and surface aesthetics is truly ‘Driving Tomorrow.’”
China is driving robust EV market growth
While many new EV brands have appeared in recent years on the Chinese market, NIO has distinguished itself as the leading premium EV maker based on design, technology and performance. This differentiation will be important in the near future, as a surge of new vehicles from major OEMs will increase competition among automotive marques. Consumers will enjoy more choice – particularly when it comes to value for money – thanks to a wider range of cost-effective EVs.
Driven by stringent emissions regulations, industry policies, and by formerly generous subsidies, the Chinese EV market has experienced significant growth in recent years. While the market is currently facing some headwinds, it remains a leader in vehicle fleet electrification, driven by domestic EV makers.
IHS Markit Automotive has published data showing that total sales in the major global markets for new EVs – including all-electric, range-extended (REX), and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles – topped 2.5 million in 2018. Should the global trend of increased emphasis on EVs have continued as predicted, EV manufacturers will have sold around 4 million EVs in 2019. In major markets, all-electric, REX and PHEV sales will make up over 10% of combined passenger car and light commercial sales in 2020, with robust growth in China and the 28 EU countries driving these numbers. While EV sales are set to double in both EU-28 and China by 2020, market momentum in North American markets is not as pronounced.