Silicone in Electric Vehicles
91% of the UK’s carbon emissions are created by road transport so it’s understandable that the Government pledged a Net Zero Target in June 2019, with the aim to reduce carbon emissions by “at least 100%” by 2050. The Government have put plans in place to ban the production of new internal combustion engines by 2030, and hybrid vehicles by 2035. Although petrol and diesel cars will still be available through the second-hand market, the idea is that everyone will gradually transition to fully electric vehicles (EVs). As of June 2023, there were 810,000 fully electric vehicles registered on UK roads, which makes up just 17% of the 14 million projected sales of 2023.
What role does silicone have to play?
Already used in automotive production, silicone rubber’s properties are even more valuable when it comes to EVs. The key feature of an electric vehicle is its battery, and the opportunity to charge it just like a mobile phone or laptop. However, the battery required to run a multi-tonne vessel poses extensive risks. Batteries can generate extreme heat through charging as well as powering. If not managed, this heat can damage internal components and could even lead to fires. That’s where silicone parts play a vital role. Silicone sponge in particular offers exceptional sealing properties, which in turn provide electrical insulation, shock protection and vibration cushioning. With efficient heat dissipation, silicone cannot only withstand consistently high temperatures, it can also help maintain the temperature in other elements of the vehicle as well. Parts such as battery seals, engine gaskets, headlamp seals and shock absorbers can all be made of silicone to promote thermal conductivity.
It’s not just the battery that manufacturers and developers must consider. There are currently around 44,408 public EV charging points up and down the UK, with 1677 being installed in June 2023 alone. The majority of at home and public charging points are installed without shelter – exposing them to the full British elements. With weather ranging from torrential rain to droughts, these stations need to be equipped for all seasons. Silicone offers low water and dust ingress, which will prevent both from getting into important electrical circuits and causing faults or fires. Even in the event of a fire, lines such as Silex’ General Purpose silicone meets Automotive Standard PART 571MVSS302, meaning that it’s burn rate presents a much-needed buffer to prevent wide spread damage. Furthermore, silicone as a whole has excellent resistance to Ozone, Oxidisation and Ultraviolet Light, allowing for a long-life expectancy even in the toughest of conditions.
With pressure piling on to meet the 2050 Net Zero Target, the electric vehicle market will continue to grow and evolve each year, and the need for materials and parts will continue to rise exponentially. Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) are investing £4billion in their flagship EV factory in Bridgewater, which is set to be the largest in Europe. They have said they will not only use their new facility to manufacture their own family of electric vehicles, but plan to supply other car brands with vital components as well. There are high hopes that this will bridge the gap in the UK supply chain for electric vehicles, as production is currently dominated in Asia.
With an extensive portfolio of production and tooling equipment plus a highly experienced and reliable team, Silex supplies high volumes of material, both bespoke and from stock with short lead times, to customers all around the globe. Our expertise will continue to play an important part in the growth of electric vehicle manufacture.
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To find out how Silex products can ensure top performance, functionality, and a long service life for your brand, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01420 470360 today.