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Covestro enables tough, lightweight materials for electric car charging stations

The lack of electric car charging stations is putting a brake on the widespread uptake of electric vehicles (EVs). Covestro is easing the back-up with robust, functional, lightweight material solutions for electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) in public charging stations and home wall chargers.

E-mobility bottleneck: electric vehicle supply equipment 

It’s a chicken and egg issue. Electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids are accelerating in popularity as members of the public consider how best to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions. But the large-scale adoption of EVs is seriously held back by the lack of a dense network of electric car charging stations similar to easily accessible commercial gasoline stations.

Governments, businesses, automobile OEMs and private households are all seizing the e-mobility infrastructure challenge. Cities are setting aside parking spaces with AC chargers for electric cars, as supermarket chains are starting to offer parking spots with free charging. Companies are switching to electric vehicle fleets, often coupled with renewable energy supply, while outfitting their facilities with chargers. Automotive manufacturers are developing EV batteries that charge more quickly while packing more power to extend the driving range. Together with operators, they are building up fast DC charging networks along highways and outside of city centers. Private households are installing AC wall box chargers for their own electric cars. 

All of these innovations require tried and tested materials that can meet their particular needs.

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Covestro supplies proven materials and solutions for EV charging stations

Covestro is partnering with innovation leaders along the EV value chain to make electric car charger materials reliable, affordable and more sustainable. Our Makrolon® polycarbonate resins and Bayblend® polycarbonate blends can be used in charger housings, front covers, display lenses, light guides, connectors for both indoor and outdoor charging stations. Elastomers, polyurethanes and thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPUs) such as Desmopan® can be used for decorative parts, in charging connectors as well as their associated holders and power cables. 

All of our EV charging station solutions build on our long-lasting expertise in electrical and automotive applications. We provide housings for manifold electrical and electronic devices, lightweight battery housings and thermal management materials for electric vehicles and electric powertrain, as well as solutions for in-car displays, interior and exterior surfaces.

EV charging station - Copyright Amanda Wallgren

Public charging stations: weatherproof and vandalism resistant materials

Polycarbonate (PC) resins are inherently robust, uniting excellent dimensional stability, good impact resistance and UL94 flame retardancy, along with electrical insulation properties that can be tailored to meet product safety standards. 

High resistance to weathering, corrosion and rust make polycarbonate resins a good material for outdoor charging installations, withstanding storage temperatures between -30°C and 80°C. Compared to semi-crystalline materials, PC housings offer lower water absorption and a reduced level (4-6/1000) of post-tooling shrinkage. Moisture resistance (UL746C, f1 listing, IP degree) is combined with impact strength that remains high even at low temperatures, as well as UV resistance. Polycarbonate casings, front covers and decorative parts offer UL94 flame protection (V0 or 5VA).

We collaborate with leading EV charging station players and support our customers with our broad know-how in materials, technologies and market requirements. Market leaders have already been relying on our material solutions for many years.

Iman Fotovat

Market Development EE&A, Business Unit Polycarbonates

Outdoors or indoors: design flexibility for corporate or private applications

The aesthetic possibilities offered by polycarbonate resins are infinite. They can be engineered for complete transparency, or to match any opaque or translucent color. Eye-catching molded shapes can be combined with metals and other plastics to suit any corporate design or household consumer preferences, as well as integrating functions. PC surface finishes can range from textured to matte and high gloss.

EV charging station solutions: cost-effective, lightweight and sustainable

Polycarbonates give EV charging station operators a cost effective and scalable path for growth. Easily mass-produced components provide the functionality needed for an electrical enclosure, along with toughness and styling that can underscore your brand identity and maximize your appeal to electric car drivers.

Lightweight PC resins meet EV charger housing requirements with just one-seventh the density of steel and half the weight of aluminum when following the same design form. Impact performance is significantly better than PMMA clear plastic acrylic and standard polystyrene. 

These high-performance properties come in a polycarbonate solution that shows high potential to be recycled at the end of its useful life. Our Makrolon® and Bayblend® polycarbonate grades partly made from post-industrial recycled (PIR) content, post-consumer recycled (PCR) content and certified mass-balanced renewable feedstock offer opportunities for a lower carbon footprint while helping to close the carbon cycle and conserve fossil resources. In addition, biobased TPU or cardyon®-based TPU, which incorporates up to 20% CO2 as a raw material, offer further sustainable material options.

Together with our partners, we are driving innovations for the EV charging infrastructure of tomorrow.

Polycarbonate resins from Covestro allow customers to realize individual and sustainable designs for EV charging stations while meeting global market requirements. Our materials meet electrical insulation standards in a strong, lightweight package that is also weatherproof, making it ideal for both robust outdoor electric vehicle charging solutions and stylish wall boxes.

Dr. Niklas Meine

Industrial Marketing EE&A, Business Unit Polycarbonates

Key Benefits

  • Safer and more durable: Polycarbonates couple electrical insulation with high dimensional stability.
  • Vandalism resistant: Charger casings and parts are tough, impact safe and have UL94 flame protection.
  • Weatherproof: PC resins are resistant to moisture, rust, UV, and wide temperature changes.
  • Design freedom: Your EV charging brand enjoys a wide range of forms, colors, and textures.
  • Cost-effective: Tough and functional EV charging station components can be mass-produced easily.
  • Lightweight: PC housings have 1/7 the density of steel and half the weight of aluminum.
  • Sustainable: Polycarbonate is a recyclable material, grades with recycled polycarbonate have been developed and mass balance certification promotes the use of renewable materials for polycarbonate applications.

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