SHANGHAI—When the electric vehicle boom hits, Elkem Silicones will be ready.
The Norwegian supplier of silicon-based advanced materials is preparing to meet growing silicone demand from the auto industry with the establishment a new workshop in Shanghai. Dubbed Delta 2, the workshop is dedicated to developing and manufacturing silicones for hybrid and electric vehicles.
A first production batch has been completed at the facility, Elkem said, adding that the materials have met quality specifications.
China is the largest single market for the production and sales of EVs, according to Elkem. This positions the Delta 2 facility to have a significant impact on the country's quickly growing EV market.
While production and sales of EVs may be growing fastest in China, the technology is taking hold globally, according to Elkem. Worldwide, the company said, EV demand is rising to the point that some analysts believe they will account for as much as a third of new vehicles sales by 2030.
Ultimately, that means the world is going to need a lot of silicone.
"An EV contains on average four times more silicones than a traditional car," Elkem said in a news release. "Silicones contribute to safer, more reliable and more comfortable cars, as a key component in airbags, cables, hoses and tires, and Elkem is already a supplier to several of the world's top EV producers."
Safety and efficiency are key when it comes to the design and manufacturing of EVs, and two of Elkem's products—Bluesil and CAF—are designed to meet those needs for auto makers and suppliers. Both provide durability and protection for electrical parts.
"The cars of the future will be powered by electricity and built and protected with silicones," Frederic Jacquin, Elkem's senior vice president for Silicones, said in a statement. "Elkem is very proud to play a key role in making greener, safer and more sustainable cities, in line with our strategy of specialization and growth, and Shanghai is the best place to ride the wave of transports electrification and renewable energy developments."
Elkem recently hosted a grand opening ceremony to mark the Shanghai facility's establishment. In attendance were Wu Bin, deputy chief of Minhang district in Shanghai; Tang WeiQun, deputy director of Xinzhuang Industrial Park where Elkem Silicones Shanghai site is located; Claude Laubriet, deputy director of Elkem Silicones Asia Pacific; and customers as well as local employees.