Sabic’s long glass fiber polypropylene “is a proven technology in automotive,” for front-end and structural parts, Julian Maasdijk, senior electrical and electronics engineer, and market developer at Sabic petrochemical, told PN.
"That's why we want to transfer that knowledge to the large charger frames with our Stamax portfolio and this additional flame-retardant development," Maasdijk said.
As the EV charging infrastructure grows, "the cost perspective of using plastics vs. metal is more in favor of plastics … depending on the application," he said. "The number of fast chargers to be produced is still, at the moment, relatively small. But the demand will really increase because the EV infrastructure has to grow with the … car population."
"Electric vehicles from our autos segment (are) the driving emerging market," Streeton added. "We have to … be able to support the infrastructure.
"We see a compatible market analysis between electric vehicles and EV charging stations … that shows … double-digit, year-over-year growth between 17 and 25 percent depending on the region," he said. "We consider that … the perfect place to match our … very diversified portfolio into a growth application of this size."
Sabic's specialties business is also seeing strong interest in its materials for a range of applications, Raikar said.
The U.S. government "has given the states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico access to $1.5 billion in funding for building out the EV charging network across 75,000 miles of highway," he said, with the goal of building 500,000 charging stations throughout the country.
That goal "is critical to alleviate customer concerns about charging range and availability," he added.
Sabic's materials can be used for both indoor and outdoor EV charging components, such as in General Motors Co.'s dual cord set EV charger lens for the 2023 MY Cadillac Lyriq EV, where it used the company's LNP LUX-C copolymer.
The polycarbonate/silicone copolymer provides high melt flow for thin-wall molding, low-temperature impact strength and good thermal stability," Raikar said. "Good weatherability of the material eliminates the need for hard coating, saving $3 per part. It can be formulated for transparency or light diffusion.
The application, manufacturered by Webasto SE, was a finalist for the 2022 SPE Automotive Innovation Award in the materials category.
General Motors also used two grades of Sabic's PC/silicone copolymer for the one-piece cover of an EVSE charging accessory used for the 2023 MY GMC Hummer EV.
"The first material, LNP EXL copolymer with molded-in black color, provides a balance of (fire retardant) properties for product safety, [and] toughness and weatherability for durability," Raikar said. "Paint elimination helps to reduce costs and CO2."
The second material, LNP CFR resin, is a transparent FR copolymer used for the clear lens on the charging unit.
The charging component, supplied by CTEK Inc., was a finalist for the SPE Automotive Innovation Award in the aftermarket and limited edition/specialty vehicles category.
Sabic also plans to expand its portfolio as it works with OEMs and suppliers and develop products for their specific needs as the market takes shape.
"To partner with a very accelerated market we've got to be very nimble and flexible … and proactive," Streeton said. "Internal preparation in certainly key. We have to … stay ahead of the market rather than chase (it)."
With commercial representatives in every global region, he said, Sabic's technology and innovation team gives an engineering perspective to help it partner its product applications to each market.
Because the company has manufacturing capacity across the globe, Streeton said, "being prepared for the demand for us is fairly easy … we can produce most any product on multiple continents."
Sabic also has and is developing product lines that have post-consumer recycled content or using bio-based feedstock materials as the basis of the polymer, like used cooking oil, to meet international environmental standards "going forward," he said. "We want to be a player and on top of offering an environmentally friendly (product)."