Ahead of the pack
Covestro polycarbonate blend revs up electric motorcycle from Alta Motors
The battery pack and subframe of the Redshift electric motorcycle utilize Makroblend® polycarbonate blend resinsfrom Covestro LLC.
Pittsburgh, September 7, 2017 - Advances in battery technology are making more eco-friendly modes of transportation possible. One company leading the charge is Alta Motors, a manufacturer of high-performance electric motorcycles for motocross, trail riding, racing and commuting.
Alta Motors developed the Alta Pack, a custom, energy-dense battery pack for its Redshift MX and SM electric motorcycles. The Alta Pack stores 5.8 kWH into 31.5 kilograms with a maximum output of 350V. Components of the Alta Pack’s housing utilize polycarbonate blend resins from Covestro LLC.
The Alta Pack features an aluminum casting with black textured covers injection molded from Makroblend® UT5207 polycarbonate/polybutylene terephthalate (PC+PBT) blend and Makroblend® UT403 polycarbonate/polyethylene terephtalate (PC+PET) blend. Makroblend® resins offer an unique combination of chemical resistance, impact resistance, durability, ease of processability and the ability to be bonded to a metal substrate.
“We worked with Alta Motors to select materials that would withstand a variety of situations from asphalt to trails, as well as all the bumps and jumps in between. Makroblend® resins provided the right mix of properties required to help ensure the functionality and safety of the Alta Pack,” said Richard Aldrich, business development manager, Southwest region, Polycarbonates, Covestro LLC.
“We wanted a material that could provide structure and tolerate impact without a breach as any opening in the battery could expose high voltage or allow water to get in,” said Rob Sweney, director of advanced powertrain, Alta Motors.
The Alta Pack is exposed to several different kinds of wear and tear: the sun, weather elements, dirt and more. There’s also risk of impact from dropping the removable battery or the motorcycle hitting the ground.
“We’ve been impressed with how resilient the battery has become. It’s been able to withstand drops onto concrete, even some hard crashes and rock hits. But even after all this abuse, the battery covers still look brand new. This material’s resilience is outstanding,” explained Sweney.
The Alta Motors’ battery pack, the Alta Pack, features an aluminum casting with black textured covers injection molded from Makroblend® UT5207 PC+PBT blend and Makroblend® UT403 PC+PET blend.
The top battery cover features Makroblend® UT5207 PC+PBT blend, which offers many advantages:
- Enhanced dimensional stability and performance with thread forming screws to protect the electronics mounted inside
- Impact modified for superior durability
- Exceptional low-temperature impact strength
- Excellent chemical resistance
- Good flowability and easy release from the mold
The bottom battery cover utilizes Makroblend® UT403 PC+PET blend, which provides several benefits:
- Impact modified for superior durability
- UL746C f1 rated, meaning the material withstands exposure to UV and water, making it appropriate for outdoor use
- Good impact strength, dimensional stability and chemical resistance
- High flow, injection molding grade
In addition, the core of the Redshift subframe features Makroblend® UT6007
PC+PBT blend for exceptional durability. The material provides:
- Exceptional low-temperature impact strength, good flowability and excellent chemical resistance
- Easy release from the mold
Covestro assisted with material selection and color matching, providing data and samples of materials. Covestro also evaluated the part design and provided technical support to Alta’s part suppliers to successfully utilize the material in the molding process. Alta assembles the battery pack from the individual pieces, and assembles the final vehicle from subsystems.
“Our work with Alta Motors demonstrates Covestro’s expertise in the electric mobility segment and showcases how our materials are formulated to meet the high demands of this market,” said Ignacio Osio, key growth program manager, Polycarbonates, Covestro LLC.
The Redshift comes in two models: the Redshift MX, a trail-ready motocross and Redshift SM, a street-legal supermoto.
Attendees at the Battery Show (www.thebatteryshow.com), Sept. 12-14, Novi, Michigan, can visit Covestro’s booth (#1733) for more details about the company’s material solutions for electric mobility.