Automotive & Transportation

Safety, Sustainability & Silence: Santa's Sleigh

Santa may be known for his gifts to others, but this year, he’s gotten a gift for himself. After all, St. Nick has been around long enough to know when it’s time for an upgrade: if you’re going to travel the globe in one night, performance and efficiency are crucial. In need of an innovative, sustainable and stylish sleigh for the 2023 Christmas season, Santa has partnered up with BASF once again!

As the world’s leading automotive chemistry supplier, BASF’s influence extends to the North Pole, and Santa knows our company doesn’t restrict itself to “traditional” automotive. BASF’s products, technical expertise and integrated support to take on mobility challenges can be applied to even a flying sleigh.

Leveraging a vast portfolio of innovative solutions, here’s the low-down on the sleigh that will be soaring high above the chimney tops this holiday season.

A Silent Ride for a Silent Night

When tasked with flying around the globe while everyone is asleep, few things are more important than a smooth, quiet ride. Reducing the noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) of the sleigh helps keep Santa’s ride as faint and muted as his footsteps in fresh snow are.

BASF’s Basotect® is the ideal noise insulation solution for sound-proofing. This low weight foam absorbs medium and high-frequency sound waves, reducing noise levels and increasing interior sound quality. With the help of Basotect® Santa can listen to all the carols on his Christmas playlist without interruption from wind or engine noises. 

Santa’s souped-up sleigh also uses Cellasto® to create a variety of polyurethane components, minimizing bumps and ensuring a smooth ride. Robust and durable, Cellasto isolates vibrations from the chassis, shock absorbers and struts, especially during those hard landings on weathered rooftops. 

Heavy-duty, but still lightweight

Tasked with carrying around enough presents for 7 billion people, it’s imperative Santa’s sleigh be sturdy and strong enough to carry heavy loads through heavy snow. However, it’s also crucial that the sleigh remains lightweight – it is flying, after all!

To offset the thousands of pounds of presents the sleigh will be pulling while ensuring performance isn’t sacrificed, Santa’s taken advantage of BASF’s lightweighting solutions. Not to be overlooked, lightweighting improves energy efficiency and reduces emissions, keeping the North Pole’s sustainability goals top-of-mind.

The sleigh’s composites – materials that use both natural fibers (such as wood, bamboo, and jute) and polyurethane (plastics) in conjunction – are made through a process known as Spray Transfer Molding. Parts made from composites are normally 20-50% lighter than their fully-plastic counterparts, making sure the sleigh coasts along gently in the sky.

In addition to lightweight composites, Santa’s sleigh utilizes BASF’s lightweight plastics. While traffic isn’t necessarily busy in the sky during Christmas Eve, you can never be too safe when it comes to transportation, which is why the sleigh is equipped with Ultramid® B3ZG7, BASF’s crash-resistant plastic that is 30% lighter than traditional steel counterparts. It never hurts to be safe when Christmas cheer is on the line.

An Electrified Trip

Tasked with keeping an eye on the global naughty or nice list, Santa is observant as they come... and he’s got a knack for spotting automotive industry trends, as well! To align with the shift to electric vehicles all automakers are undergoing, Santa’s brand-new sleigh will be all-electric, utilizing BASF’s eMobility solutions.

BASF is a leading cathode active materials (CAM) supplier for lithium-ion batteries, which determine the efficiency, reliability, cost, durability and size of a battery in an electric vehicle or hybrid. Cathode active materials provide a high energy density and enable a longer range with quick charge capabilities. With one of the broadest CAM portfolios, BASF supports eMobility applications such as electric cars, plug-in hybrids and, yes, flying sleighs. In addition, BASF offers base metals sourcing and management as well as closed-loop battery recycling solutions to reduce the battery of the sleigh’s CO2 footprint and help ensure the supply of critical metals for new batteries.

But how does Santa make sure that the all-electric flying sleigh doesn’t overheat? It’s all about keeping the reindeer cool…cooler…coolant. For example, BASF’s GLYSANTIN® G22® ELECTRIFIED® new generation of ready-to-use battery electric coolant for indirect cooling of sleighs is designed to achieve effective prevention of corrosion while maintaining low conductivity levels. It also provides good passivation in the low-temperature coolant circuits (battery operation) as well as at high temperatures (battery charging). In other words, the sleigh will stay chilled and the reindeer will not break a sweat as they travel around the world.

Lastly, not even Santa is immune to range anxiety when it comes to electrified vehicles. To ensure a fast and smooth ride that will last around the entire globe, Santa got himself a Mobility Dock utilizing BASF Ultramid® that allows him to charge his sleigh at the North Pole beforehand and in the sky on Christmas Eve, lightening the workload for his reindeer crew.

Clean Air for a Clean Road

Just like governments around the world, the North Pole has emission-reduction targets, too. Factoring in that Santa’s Christmas route quite literally goes through the air we breathe, Santa’s going a step beyond electrification in his commitment to sustainability and leveraging BASF’s PremAir® technology, a catalyst coating that is applied to the sleigh’s radiator and converts up to 90 percent of harmful ground-level ozone into clean oxygen as air flows over. technology, a catalyst coating that is applied to the sleigh’s radiator and converts up to 90 percent of harmful ground level ozone into clean oxygen as air flows over.

Since the Environmental Protection Agency’s compliance rules apply to the North Pole, PremAir technology helps lower cost compliance, something much needed when you’re responsible for sourcing and building billions of gifts! With a 5 mg per mile credit against tailpipe emissions given for the direct ozone reduction PremAir offers, Santa’s new sleigh will be reducing his emissions by over 124,000 mg. That’s a real Christmas miracle!

Christmas Tree Green

To keep his sleigh looking pristine, Santa ensures it regularly receives a fresh coat of BASF primer, paint and clearcoat – including the appropriate surface pre-treatment solution.

While Santa’s sleigh is known for its signature shade of red, he keeps his finger on the pulse of design trends in the transportation industry. With BASF’s 2023 Automotive Color Trends report in mind, he’s decided it’s time to freshen up his sleigh by spotlighting the other color synonymous with Christmastime: green.

A key color in the Americas set to take off in the next 3-5 years, Santa’s trendsetting by donning his sleigh with ZENOMENON, a subtle shade of green with blue accents, connecting the grounded values of our world with the otherworldly magic of the North Pole.

BASF’s metal pretreatment technology can be found in more than 50% of all cars produced globally – so it goes without saying that for Santa’s sleigh, it has to be nothing less than 100%. Not only does the right pre-treatment does not only provide the basis for a perfect surface, but it also offers long-term corrosion protection and ensures optimal paint adhesion for many winters to come.

Continuing his passion for sustainability this 2023 holiday season, Santa’s fresh coat of paint works with sensor-based mobility concepts and has been colored using responsibly-sourced raw materials.

Self-Flying Sleigh

In addition to electrification and emission reduction, autonomous driving has taken the automotive industry by storm. In the spirit of generosity and ever-mindful of his reindeer’s energy, Santa has chosen to take a festive leap into the world of autonomy for the first time in 2023.

With the help of BASF Ultradur® RX, Santa has installed radar sensors in his brand-new sleigh. Ultradur RX is a PBT designed specifically for autonomous vehicle sensor applications, and the material’s resistance to extreme temperatures, rain, sleet and snow keep this state-of-the-art radar technology at peak performance no matter what environment Santa is delivering presents in.

Santa’s new autonomous sleigh brings visual and aesthetic benefits, as well, thanks to BASF Coatings. After consulting with BASF’s design experts and choosing ZENOMENON as his sleigh’s color, Santa has given his paint a primer layer of BASF RaylutionTM, working step-in-step with his Ultradur sensors to promote maximum radar transmission and minimum radar reflection, ensuring that no vehicle is too hard to see in the endless night of Christmas Eve.

Planning Ahead with 3D-Printing

What happens when sleigh parts need to be replaced? It can be difficult to quickly retrieve replacement components when Santa is far away in the North Pole. Luckily, we know that Santa’s workshop has a 3D printer, and the mechanic elves can print spare parts to make sure he’s prepared for all trials and tribulations on his worldwide trek. 

Ultrafuse® 316L is BASF’s innovative filament for printing stainless-steel applications. This filament is cost-effective, easy to handle and enables greater freedom of design. With Ultrafuse® 316L, the elves can 3D print metal parts and prototypes whenever necessary.  

Santa also worked with BASF’s Ultrasim® team to customize comfortable 3D-printed seating inserts so he can relax and recuperate in between carrying his thousand-pound sack of presents from house to house.

Dynamic Braking Systems

Going house to house all night means a lot of starting and stopping, making a robust braking system arguably the most crucial part of ensuring Santa’s yearly trek remains safe. Whether due to a snowstorm or Comet and Vixen’s limited attention while they’re busy poking fun at Rudolph’s red nose, the last box Santa needs to check before it’s time to head out for business is making sure his brakes are in tip-top shape.

To make sure his sleigh can stop on a whim, Santa uses BASF’s HYDRAULAN® brake fluids. HYDRAULAN has a low viscosity, high thermal stability and excellent corrosion protection to ensure optimum performance and extend the reliability of any brakes. As brake pressure builds up about 30% faster at extremely low temperatures, HYDRAULAN won’t only make sure that Santa safely lands at every house, but also that he returns home safely to the North Pole, ready to enjoy 364 days of leisure after a hard-night’s work.

BASF prides itself on tailoring solutions to meet any and every customer’s needs, even when the customer requires a flying sleigh. Santa's emphasis on safety, sustainability, and silence for Christmas 2023, with the help of BASF, promises to deliver his most magical and efficient gift-giving performance yet.

Happy Holidays from BASF! 

To learn more about our complete automotive portfolio, visit www.basf.com/automotive.