DuPont Leader Underscores the Importance of Plastics in Lightweighting at Automotive Conference

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TROY, Mich., Jan. 12, 2015 – DuPont Global Automotive Technology Director Jeff Sternberg plans to challenge the nearly 200 attendees at a Plastics News event next week to think differently about what plastics can do and when to engage materials suppliers to make the best use of inherently lightweight plastics.

“Lightweighting is critically important to helping the industry develop vehicles that will meet the 2025 CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards,” said Sternberg, referring to a recent WardsAuto/DuPont survey where nearly half the respondents identified lightweighting as a top strategy that will help them meet the new standards.  “One of the attractive aspects of lightweighting is that it complements and sometimes compounds the benefits of the other approaches.  It is an AND rather than an OR.”

Sternberg is speaking at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 14 at the Plastics News “Plastics in Automotive” event at the Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit.  The conference is part of preview events for the North American International Auto Show, which runs from Jan. 17 - 24.

Despite falling gas prices, the industry is still challenged to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards, which require, on an average industry fleet-wide basis, 163 g/mile of CO2 in model year 2025, which would be equivalent to 54.5 mpg (4.3 L/100km) if this level were achieved solely through improvements in fuel efficiency.

“The industry has made phenomenal improvements to date, but we have miles to go and given our current technologies, we won’t get to the 2025 standards,” Sternberg said.  “Materials are core to successfully achieving greater efficiencies and we know we need transformational change not only in the materials themselves, but in the ways we work with them.”

Sternberg outlines three strategies to help advance efforts to reduce vehicle weight:

  • Involve materials suppliers early in the design-brief stage
  • Look further than product data sheets for knowledge of materials
  • Develop more integrated, multi-material solutions

“Clearly improving the materials portfolio is a major focus area for research and development with materials suppliers like DuPont,” said Sternberg.  “We are actively working to develop new materials that offer better performance and improved cost positions to help meet the needs of our customers.”

DuPont offers more than 100 materials and product families for the global automotive industry. Through its global application development network, DuPont Automotive is committed to collaborating with customers throughout the value chain to develop new products, materials, components and systems that help reduce dependence on fossil fuels and protect people and the environment. For more information, visit automotive.dupont.com.

DuPont (NYSE: DD) has been bringing world-class science and engineering to the global marketplace in the form of innovative products, materials, and services since 1802.  The company believes that by collaborating with customers, governments, NGOs, and thought leaders we can help find solutions to such global challenges as providing enough healthy food for people everywhere, decreasing dependence on fossil fuels, and protecting life and the environment.  For additional information about DuPont and its commitment to inclusive innovation, please visit http://www.dupont.com.