Smart Cockpits

Light and Connected

The automotive interior will undergo a revolution as more battery electric vehicles (BEVs) emerge on the scene. The traditional console will shift; as the tunnel disappears, the skateboard concept by Audi, as well as other major OEMs with announced dedicated EV platforms, will facilitate this transformation.

The surface material is also undergoing change as the surfaces are morphing and integrating functions. The traditional stronghold for PVC skins, i.e. Audi, is switching to PU spray. The old nemesis of PVC, low temperature airbag door deployment behavior, finally caused this change for airbag doors with specific designs. In Japan, more OEMs are moving toward PVC slush and they have their reasons for a reversion. More importantly, what is left of the retainer after all the openings have been punched out? As the size of the instrument panel shrinks, the size of the console grows and materials proliferate (ABS, PA, PU, PMMA, PP, to name a few). The shift will become more prominent as the console carriers the interior design theme from the front to the back. It becomes the central node in the case of autonomous vehicles. The role of ambient lighting will also expand from just decoration to part of the safety system, as electrification becomes more prominent.

Traditional Tier One suppliers will increasingly assume the role of an integrator and the big electronic giants, such as Bosch, Continental, and Denso, become the de facto Tier Ones. The business dynamics of this segment will undergo an unprecedented change in the future.

The ITB Group offers a new report (Smart Cockpits – Light and Connected 2018) which focuses on identifying the drivers behind the change and evaluates its impact on the technologies used for manufacturing components, material selection and the OEMs’ strategies in providing a vehicle interior that engages the consumer.

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