Polycarbonate Windows Save Weight on the VW XL1

13th March 2013

At the Geneva Motor Show, Volkswagen plans to present its XL1 plug-in hybrid vehicle with some of the world’s most innovative automotive solutions, including lightweight LEXAN™ polycarbonate (PC) side windows with advanced EXATEC™ plasma coating technology from SABIC.

This makes the Volkswagen XL1 the first vehicle to feature this advanced plasma coating technology on two component (2K) injection-molded PC windows. Use of LEXAN PC window glazing with SABIC’s advanced coating technologies reduces weight in those applications by 33% vs. conventional glass solutions, while delivering a scratch-resistant surface. Use of SABIC’s PC glazing solutions in the XL1’s side windows demonstrates the feasibility of plasma coating technology for serial vehicles, while underscoring Volkswagen’s  use of lightweight, innovative materials to improve vehicle performance.


The Volkswagen XL1 uses polycarbonate windows to help save weight 


“The LEXAN plasma-coated windows from SABIC are one of many distinguishing features on the XL1 that help us lighten the vehicle to reduce energy consumption,” said Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board Volkswagen Passenger Cars.

“It is chemistry and collaboration that enable designers to bring their innovative products to the world,” said Greg Adams, Automotive vice president of SABIC’s Innovative Plastics business. “We were excited to work with an industry leader like Volkswagen to bring our advanced EXATEC plasma coating technology to life. This is a big milestone in driving innovation forward for the windows of future automobiles. We commend Volkswagen for constructing the ultra-efficient, iconic XL1 vehicle and making extraordinary strides in its design with the use of lightweight, fuel-efficient technologies.”

The use of PC glazing proves to be practical for energy-efficient vehicles by enabling a substantial weight reduction, while meeting styling and functional requirements at a high level of quality.

In addition to providing the high-performance materials, SABIC delivered full application development assistance, technical leadership and program management from its Global Application Technology Center in Bergen Op Zoom (Netherlands) and its state-of-the-art Advanced Glazing Technology Development Center in Wixom, Mich. (United States).

In the XL1’s fixed and roll-down side windows, SABIC features its injection-molded LEXAN resin with EXATEC PC plasma coating system. The requirements for plastic glazing are met by depositing SABIC’s E900 plasma coating on the parts after molding. This glass-like plasma coating, applied over a hard coat, delivers enhanced weathering, durability and abrasion performance and enables compliance with global requirements and regulations for plastic glazing applications.

The XL1’s fixed and roll-down side windows are produced through two-shot injection compression molding using a color-matched LEXAN GLX resin in combination with black CYCOLOY™ XCM resin. The LEXAN GLX grade, specially formulated for automotive glazing applications, provides optimal visibility and delivers high cleanliness, weatherability, easy processing and compatibility with protective coatings. The CYCOLOY grade, a blend of PC and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) resin, provides superior dimensional stability, excellent aesthetics and coating compatibility.

LEXAN PC glazing enables weight reductions up to 50% vs. comparable glass materials, depending on the complexity and design of the window part.

The XL1 features a range of design and material technologies to keep weight to a minimum, many of which are detailed here.