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Adhesive tapes playing key role in move to electric cars

Adhesive tapes playing key role in move to electric cars

As the move to electric vehicles gathers pace, OEMs are looking to new and lighter materials for bonding, joining and fixing. Adhesive tapes can provide an attractive alternative to more conventional methods.

With fuel prices, urban traffic emissions and concern about fossil fuel resources all ever present issues, the global use of the electric vehicle seems assured. In California government incentives of around £6000 are being paid to buyers of electric cars and in Europe Lars Tomsen, who advises almost all of the major automotive groups, says: "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.

When it comes to materials, a key consideration is bonding technology, with automotive manufacturers looking for bonding, joining and fixing solutions that are weight saving alternatives to traditional, mechanical methods, along with benefits in aesthetics, ease of application and dependability.

Adhesive tapes have an important role to play in meeting all of the above requirements, whilst also providing equal distribution of stress across the bond, avoiding the weak spots which mechanical fixing methods often create.

As an example adhesive tape specialist Tesa reports on an application that is widespread but little known outside of the carmakers themselves, in the use of its products for hole covering. These necessary but 'hidden' elements of vehicle design often run into dozens of instances per vehicle. Here, tesa 54336 adhesive tape is a preferred option for many manufacturers on this type of application. In addition to its light weight, Tesa says the tape has excellent 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 the vehicle parc. 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 and 2012.

More than 60V of power flows through the cables on hybrids and tesa 51036 Orange is recommended and used to wrap them. This innovative 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 an increasing use of lighter and more modern materials in car manufacture as the move to electric gathers pace. Tesa is well placed to aid manufacturers in finding bonding solutions to meet the needs of this market shift.

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