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Engineering Materials

Driving electric two-wheeler adoption with advanced materials  

Electric two-wheelers are central to combatting India’s air pollution problem. In 2019, two-wheelers, which accounted for over 75% of vehicles on the road, were responsible for more than 30% of the country’s pollution. The Indian government has since launched several electric vehicle (EV) tax incentives, and announced its goal for 80% of new two- and three-wheeler sales to be electric by 2030. As a result, the country’s electric two-wheeler market is expected to reach a compound annual growth rate of 57% from 2020 to 2025. 

In addition to reducing air pollution levels, electric motorbikes and scooters offer several benefits over gas-powered alternatives. EV engines are typically 70% more energy efficient than internal combustion engines (ICE) – improving long-term vehicle performance and reliability. Electric drivetrains also rely on fewer moving parts, which lowers service and maintenance costs throughout vehicle lifetimes.

Yet, in India, time and costs associated with implementing new technology, as well as infrastructure challenges threaten to slow the adoption of electric two-wheelers. The most affordable electric motorcycles and scooters offer shorter ranges, limited battery lifespan, and slower recharging cycles that may take several hours. India is also in the nascent stage of expanding public charging station availability – posing challenges for riders with longer commutes in the meantime.

More Indian manufacturers are leveraging non-lithium-ion battery (LiB) technology to meet demand for two-wheelers that offer improved range and faster charging times. This strategy drives long-term time and cost-savings, since it doesn’t depend on lithium imports. Yet, accidental damage to non-LiBs or LiBs, as well as the higher voltage levels needed to accelerate recharging cycles, can pose serious fire and electrical safety risks. To ensure two-wheelers are safe and reliable, various plastic comiponents need to be made from materials that offer best-in-class safety performance, mechanical strength and design flexibility.

DSM offers a complete portfolio of advanced material solutions for manufacturing electric two-wheeler parts. Our ForTii® and Akulon® grades exceed industry safety performance standards, demonstrating a comparative tracking index (CTI) above 600V and a UL94 V-0 flammability rating. Each material demonstrates excellent mechanical properties, including high resistance to extreme temperatures, weather and chemicals to ensure long-term part reliability.

Batteries

Battery management systems produce high heat and humidity levels. The plastic components for these parts require advanced materials that offer outstanding electrical endurance, thermal management capabilities, and low moisture absorption. ForTii demonstrates a CTI above 800V, minimal heat aging after 1,000 cycles of thermal shock testing, and a moisture sensitivity level that meets JEDEC Level 1. To protect batteries by minimizing fire and electrical safety risks, the materials used for battery covers and cell spacers require high flame retardancy and impact strength. Akulon is optimized for these applications, due to its excellent mechanical performance at elevated temperatures.  

Connectors

The charging and interconnection systems for electric two-wheelers need to withstand high voltages, while also meeting design miniaturization trends. As a result, connector manufacturers require materials that offer enhanced tracking resistance and high dielectric strength, while enabling shorter creep distances. In addition to its industry-leading CTI, ForTii delivers high flow, toughness and stiffness for molding thin-walled parts with complicated geometries. Akulon is ideal for fast-charging plugs, as it achieves high tracking and flame resistance – without the use of costly flame retardant additives.

Electrical Control Systems

Vehicle electronics, including engine control units (ECUs) and infotainment displays, are vulnerable to overheating and radio frequency signal interference. Due to its unique combination of high thermal conductivity, EMI shielding, and impact resistance, Akulon is well suited for manufacturing covers that protect sensitive electronics. Additives can be incorporated to optimize the thermal and electric conductivity properties of numerous DSM materials for specific applications. This enables manufacturers to replace metal in the manufacture of electronics enclosures – driving significant cost savings and reducing part weight by up to 50%.

Contact us today or visit Plastics Finder to learn more about DSM’s proven portfolio of advanced solutions for electric two-wheeler components.

Rajendra Joshi

Application Development Manager

Published on

21 May 2021

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rajendra Joshi

Application Development Manager

Rajendra Joshi works with DSM India as Application development manager and has 20 years of experience in two wheeler industry.

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