Lightweighting to emerge as big growth trend despite industry slow down: DuPont

The Indian automotive industry despite going through its worst period in history stands to benefit from light-weighting technologies in the long-run. Lightweighting will play a vital role to make vehicles safer and cut down on emissions. Anupam Jaiswal from DuPont tells us how this will happen.

By:Published: February 21, 2020 4:05:10 PM

Anupam Jaiswal, South Asia Business Director (Auto – India & ASEAN) – Transportation & Industrial, DuPont tells us their growth strategy as the Indian auto industry begins a new era with cleaner BS6 emissions and the adoption of more stringent safety norms. Despite the Indian automotive industry on the downward trend, Dupont believes that the benefits from lightweighting technologies can enable new design freedom for vehicles. Mentioned below are the excerpts from our conversation.

What growth potential do you see for DuPont in India?

Strategically, we are looking at major trends in India to pursue growth. One such trend is around emission norms in the automotive sector. We have a major play in that space. For example, our high-performance materials are used to replace the metals parts in under-the-hood applications in a car. This reduces the overall weight of a car, improves fuel efficiency and thereby lower emissions. The second trend is around Electric vehicles. At DuPont, we provide automotive industry partners with varied applications in vehicle electrification, autonomy, connectivity and the supporting infrastructure space.

How can DuPont transition to provide the necessary tools to the OEMs as we move towards Electric Vehicles?

We see India as an exciting market, and some of the emerging trends in India, such as Vehicle Electrification, are closely aligned with our growth areas. In order to help meet the requirements of electrification and other mobility trends things such as thermal management, safety, NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness), lightweighting, connectivity, sensing and control, durability and charging infrastructure must be solved in the value chain. Our material solutions like Betamate and Betaforce structural adhesives, Zytel nylon, Nomex fibre, help electric vehicle lightweighting, emission reduction and safety thereby contributing to the development of next-generation electric cars and batteries.

We recently signed a multi-year strategic technical partnership with Renault F1 to deliver innovations in automotive technology, beginning with hybrid and electric powertrain innovative solutions to help advance Formula 1 and other racing programs. With Renault Sport Racing, we can explore opportunities to co-innovate and accelerate the development of new technology for future consumer and road car applications. This will help us to leverage their leading engineering polymers and adhesives solutions which play a vital role today in lightweighting, electrification, hybridisation, thermal management, connectivity and improved safety.

What are the most popular processes for lightweighting for vehicles and why?

Lightweighting of vehicles is directly linked to lower CO2 emissions and improved fuel economy. So, replacing metal parts with parts wrought from our high-performance polymers is one proven strategy for vehicle weight reduction. Our lightweight Zytel Plus nylon resin has been designed to handle protracted exposure to hot oil, hot air, road salt, coolants and other automotive chemicals. Globally, our team of engineers and material science experts are collaborating with suppliers and manufacturers all over the world to help achieve better fuel economy and sustainability in the automotive industry.

While the Indian auto industry is at its lowest, how do you think vehicle lightweighting technologies will be impacted? 

There has been a trend towards lightweighting even in India for some time now and we are able to see some traction coming up on adopting various lightweighting technologies. However, the industry can speed up the adoption to meet upcoming regulations and emerging safety standards. Even though auto builds are in a downtrend now, we expect good revival in the near future and irrespective of car builds, we expect lightweighting of vehicles as a trend to continue.

Before India transitions to EVs, do you believe there needs to be a bridge of some form like hybridisation?

The government has an ambitious vision of 100% electrification of public transport and 40% of personal mobility by 2030. So, we undoubtedly see a future where tomorrow’s cars will be electric, autonomous, shared and connected to each other and the world.

As far as the transition is concerned, a lot depends on where the Government wants to go. If the goal is to significantly reduce the dependence on fossil fuels and crude oil imports, moving to EV by skipping hybridisation could be a quicker solution but a more challenging goal. In order to be successful, the infrastructure and the complete Eco-system for electrical vehicles, charging stations, etc will need to be established. A lot of planning and upfront investment will be needed for developing the infrastructure to support the electrification goals of 2030.

Beyond mandatory safety for passenger cars, what can be done in the commercial space?

As per the World Resources Institute, India has the worst safety record in the world. Around 1.5 lakh people lost their lives on Indian roads in 2018 alone. India accounts for about 2% of motor vehicles sales globally yet is responsible for more than 11% of road traffic deaths. Hence, there needs to be a greater emphasis on vehicular safety in the commercial vehicle space as well. The good thing is that the government and other regulatory authorities are becoming more aware and introducing stringent policies and regulations. This should eventually evolve to cover the entire spectrum of vehicles including commercial ones. While this happens, on our end we’ll continue to develop sustainable technologies for the automotive sector that improve safety & performance, while bringing down cost and enable new auto design freedom.

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