Hyundai engineers have had some interesting things up their sleeves. But this one may take the cake as being the most interesting ever seen in a car.
Hyundai Engineering Plastics, Shinki Intermovile, Plastech, and Kopla all worked together to bring the new Hyundai Accent and Elantra with interior pillar trim partly made of volcanic rock. This step was taken since wrapping the specific interior parts in cloth would be too costly.
Apparently the volcanic rock when mixed in with plastic resin and fibrous material can give off an upscale appearance by mimicking cloth. To be exact, the mixture is 0.5% volcanic rock, 1% fibrous material and 98.5% plastic resin mixture.
“We had a supplier come to us that was using volcanic rock, and we were trying to find different types of (additive) that made stronger plastic resins,” Jake Welland, engineering manager at Hyundai-Kia Technical Center.
Hyundai didn’t say exactly how much money is saved from this new method, but Welland said that it costs roughly half as much to injection-mold a pillar trim piece with volcanic rock than actually wrapping a piece of plastic in cloth like many luxury makers do. Other than the pillar trim however, Hyundai doesn’t feel the need to expand its volcanic rock mixture elsewhere in the car.
– By: Chris Chin