E-cars do not have a classic radiator grille, so the front of the vehicle can be freely designed. HELLA is developing large panels for this purpose. Not only the design plays an important role, but also the integration of additional functions.
The keypoints in short
- HELLA develops highly integrated, multifunctional panels for electric vehicles.
- The customizable panels with innovative lighting technologies ensure a distinctive brand identity.
- The panels combine radomes, sensor technology and support a safe driving experience.
New design concepts for the vehicle front
Based on the company’s distinctive lighting and electronics expertise, HELLA integrates front radar covers, so-called radomes, radar sensors, lidar, cameras for driver assistance systems and headlamps into the covers. “We act as an innovative system integrator. Vehicle manufacturers benefit from this because they have to coordinate fewer sub-suppliers,” says Dr. Huber. In addition, HELLA ensures that the individual components are compatible with each other. The result is highly integrated, multifunctional panels that also feature a distinctive design.
The surface can be quickly customized.
Attractive appearance, day and night
To give the panel an attractive day and night appearance, HELLA uses different manufacturing processes. For example, structures such as hexagons can be introduced into the surface with a laser. Manufacturers can individually choose whether panels are implemented in the vehicle’s color, a homogeneous black or chrome look. HELLA masters new technologies such as injection stamping, film back injection and others to produce highly decorative components according to customer requirements. At night or when switched on, the light exits are illuminated and structures and animations become visible. “Within the framework of the respective legislation, many things are possible in terms of design,” explains Dr. Huber. Another advantage is that the panels can be quickly customized, for example for different model variants, by simply adjusting the design or styling of the surface. “This eliminates the need for costly mold adjustments, resulting in a faster return on investment for automobile manufacturers.”
Panels take over important safety functions
HELLA continues to drive forward the development of its own panel technology. The company’s first highly integrated panel went into series production at a European vehicle manufacturer in the third quarter of 2021. HELLA is also currently working on a panel over one meter wide for a European e-vehicle brand, which is expected to go into series production in the third quarter of 2022. The panel requires the highest surface quality and is also “radar-permeable” in order to be able to implement the automatic distance control (ACC) function.
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