In Europe Lars Tomsen, who advises almost all of the major automotive groups, is suggesting that anyone who doesn't make the change now will experience what Nokia did with Smartphones or Kodak with digital photography. In the UK driverless Lutz Pathfinder electric pods are being trialled in Milton Keynes as one of four test towns for alternative modes of personal transport.
An integral part of the move to electric is the use of new and lighter materials along with the adoption of products and methods which can reduce the weight of the finished vehicle. Power to weight ratio has long been a key factor for auto manufacturers and this latest development in the power unit has accelerated the trend once more.
Adhesive tapes specialist tesa UK looks well placed to take advantage of this process, with products that employ bonding, joining and fixing solutions as weight saving alternatives to traditional, mechanical methods, along with benefits in aesthetics, ease of application and dependability. Tapes also provide equal distribution of stress across the bond, avoiding the weak spots which mechanical fixing methods often create.
An application that is widespread but little known outside of the carmakers themselves is use of tesa products for hole covering. These necessary but hidden elements of vehicle design often run into dozens of instances per vehicle. The company's 54336 product (pictured above) is a preferred option for many manufacturers on this type of application. In addition to its lightweight, the tape has good noise damping properties, adheres well to carbon and eliminates any requirements for laborious sandblasting around each and every hole.
Another example can be found in the cable wrapping in hybrid vehicles powered by high performance batteries. Hybrids are steadily taking an increasing proportion of every nation's vehicle fleet. Even in the US, with its commitment to the oil industry, there are already ten manufacturers providing these kinds of vehicles and sales of hybrids rose by more than a third between 2010 – 2012.
Many kilowatts of power flows through the cables on hybrids and tesa 51036 Orange is recommended and used to wrap them. This innovatory product, introduced as recently as 2014, is resistant to heat and abrasion, offers an excellent adhesive bond and retains its bright colouring as a warning to firefighters not to cut through the cable in the event of accident.
Experts confidently predict the increasing use of lighter and more modern materials in car manufacture as the move to electric gathers pace. Adhesive tape suppliers seem well placed to aid automotive manufacturers in finding bonding solutions to meet the needs of this market shift.