BASF’s new virtual car showcases chemistry-driven solutions for future mobility
BASF Automotive Solutions is excited to announce the launch of our virtual car. From engineering plastics and coatings to cathode materials, fuels and lubricants and more, this new interactive tool presents BASF’s broad portfolio of automotive solutions to help customers continue to innovate and drive the mobility industry forward. With the virtual car, automotive OEMs, engineers, designers and developers can explore by specific materials or material properties, across vehicle segments, by different powertrains or by industry topic to determine which BASF solutions will best address their needs.
Alex Horisberger, senior specialist design consultant at BASF, helped lead the development of the virtual car. With a background in product design and experience working with engineers, Alex coordinated across BASF’s global teams to ensure the virtual car is a functional, technical and aesthetically pleasing tool. In the interview below, Alex shares more on the virtual car and how it can inspire those who are helping transform the industry.
Tell us more about the virtual car and what it offers automakers.
The virtual car is designed to show automakers how BASF materials can help solve the challenges facing the industry. Beyond its technical function, the elegant design is intended to motivate and inspire designers and engineers to explore new ways to leverage our material know-how against their toughest challenges.
We know that the current pace of change in automotive is intense. That’s why you won’t see any fleeting or trendy elements found in cars today. It was important to create a balance to show which BASF solutions can help answer the question, “what now?”, while also providing a glimpse into how they can help answer the question, “what’s next?”.
It’s also intentionally not a real vehicle that can be built, but more of a long-term proxy. We already know OEMs are experts in making cars, and our competency lies with material and chemical solutions. Our virtual car is like a playground for automakers to explore and realize all the possibilities to innovate using our products.
What was one of the challenges you faced while developing the virtual car?
One of our biggest challenges was to make a vehicle that is not related to any specific brand or market, but one that is truly a “world’s car.” There is no branding to ensure the car is a blank slate for customers to draw inspiration from.
We consulted with markets in North America, Europe and Asia, and the overall feedback was that a subcompact SUV is the preferred model. With customer demands for certain types of vehicles or components we can show - through the virtual car - that BASF can deliver broad solutions to meet their needs.
The modular shape is also intentionally part of the design concept to offer customers a variety of entry points into the car. Customers can look at the car holistically or filter though the different segments for solutions to meet their requirements in a targeted way. For example, if a customer is looking at the gas tank or battery packs, the virtual car can easily be switched from an internal combustion engine to an electric vehicle or filtered by solutions for e-mobility.
How did automotive industry trends influence the virtual car?
When designing this virtual car, we definitely took automotive industry trends and challenges into consideration. For example, we understand that the interior of a vehicle is becoming increasingly important as consumers are looking for a more comfortable and customizable cabin. The virtual car shows how BASF can support transforming interior spaces, such as providing cushioning material to create softer passenger seats or NVH solutions to reduce unwanted sound interference in the cabin. We also like to show how our materials can be used in unusual applications, like the backrest of the seat, to help generate ideas for future products.
To encompass the entire mobility ecosystem, you’ll see there is equal weight given to the exterior and interior of the vehicle, as well as the powertrain and chassis.
With an extensive range of products and technical expertise, BASF is here to help customers develop answers to current automotive industry challenges and inspire new innovations for future mobility. Click here to learn more about BASF Automotive Solutions.