NOVI, Mich.—Electrified vehicles will face new issues in noise—but not their own noise.
Sounds that used to get drowned out by the hum of an internal combustion engine and the meshing of gears in the transmission and axles—such as wind around the doors, sunroof and hood—can find their way to EV passengers' ears.
This is the motivation for Fortrex, a type of automotive seal for doors, hatchbacks, trunks and sunroofs. Fortrex, manufactured by Cooper Standard Automotive, is being used on the 2020 Ford Explorer, the first of several vehicles booked for the new seals.
While most seals are made from EPDM, Fortrex uses a proprietary technology developed over five years that can reduce the amount of noise that enters a vehicle's interior through the enclosures by as much as half, according to Cooper Standard. Fortrex also weighs as much as 30 percent less than today's seals, which could save as much as 4 pounds per vehicle.
EPDM relies on carbon black, a substance that is environmentally harmful and naturally wears out over time. According to Cooper Standard, Fortrex doesn't compress, deform or degrade as synthetic rubber seals do.