Paintless plastic cars

The automotive industry has a huge impact on the environment – and it’s not just the oil its products consume once they roll out the factory door.

According to Life After The Oil Crash, to produce a vehicle takes around 1,142 gallons of oil – that’s the energy equivalent to make the steel, the plastics… and to produce and apply the paint.

Carbon Motors Corporation is currently producing a special vehicle for US law enforcement that will be the world’s first car to utilize a paintfilm thermoplastic skin instead of paint. While the Soliant Fluorex® Paintfilm is already used frequently in the automotive industry on items such as external trim, it’s the first time a whole vehicle will be “painted” with it.

As the vehicle body will be made of recyclable plastics, the paintfilm can be applied as part of the molding process, avoiding the need for paint booths.

The energy and resource savings are quite impressive. Paint booths usually make up 40% of the cost of a new car production plant and also take up to 40% of factory floor space. 

In terms of energy, Carbon Motors estimates the savings achieved using paintfilm instead of paint in their production of the vehicle will be 150,000 megawatt hours per year – the equivalent to the power consumption of 17,000 average U.S. homes.

Another  manufacturer using paintfilm for car components estimated saving 23 gigawatt hours of energy – which is equal to 13,200 barrels of oil. Also, the amount of water they saved in a year using paintfilm was an incredible 115,000 tons.

Paintfilms are recyclable, so any scrap generated in production can be shredded and placed back in the  resin stream. Soliant has also demonstrated a 98% reduction in VOC emissions compared to traditional automative painting processes.

Aside from the pain, by using lighter materials such as aluminium and plastic in their cars, Carbon Motors state they will be  improve the performance and durability of a law enforcement vehicle and provide up to a 40 percent improvement in fuel economy