Asahi Kasei is celebrating its centennial by releasing a new concept car called AKXY2, an exploration of how values for sustainability, satisfaction and society influence future mobility. Asahi Kasei is a Japanese multinational company that works in multiple industries. The company’s new concept car looks at how the need for sustainability paired with the needs of society and drivers shape how we drive in a society that is moving toward automation and electrification.
The AKXY2 concept (pronounced “ax-ee”) is packed with Asahi technological innovations from the material industry that have contributed to present and future mobility projects.
“Aside from advancements in legislation, evolving demands from customers are causing OEMs to tear down existing processes in favor of safer, more comfortable and more sustainable vehicles, answering the needs of diverse end users,” said Heiko Rother, general manager of automotive business development at AsahiKasei Europe.
Moreover, materials used in the car help shape the driving experience as well as offer more sustainable ways to build vehicles. AKXY2 shows how the company that made it has expertise across multiple aspects of the vehicle creation value chain. This is from raw materials and production technologies to the expert usage of recycled and recyclable materials. In fact, pretty much everything you can see or touch in the AKXY2 concept car was manufactured or co-developed by Asahi Kasei, something rarely seen in the auto industry.
Throughout the car, Asahi Kasei materials are used such as textiles and elastomers that contribute to a lower carbon footprint. Interior surfaces are covered in a material called Dinamica microfiber suede that is made partially from recycled polyester. Sage Automotive Interiors sustainable fabrics also line the cabin. These fabrics are made from recycled PET, bio-based PET, ocean waste and natural fibers. Vehicle seat cushions were made from Cubit, a PET and bio-based PPT material made into a 3D mesh.
Even the tires were made from bio-based butadiene. They are low-rolling resistance tires to improve fuel and energy efficiency and reduces microplastic. Antimicrobial fabrics were used to prevent spread of pathogens in the cabin, and CO2 sensors monitor air quality while reducing energy usage.
Additionally, AKXY2 features open/close touch buttons for the doors and the overhead transparent canopy that takes the place of a normal roof. Don’t expect to see a car come to market with a fully transparent roof yet. The pillars that hold up the roof are a key component to crash and rollover safety, but we love the concept and expect materials science will get us to transparent vehicle roofs at some point coming in the not too distant future.
You can see the AKXY2 concept car at K Show in Dusseldorf in October of 2022, or at CES 2023 in January 2023 in Las Vegas.
Images via Asahi Kasei