Continental’s new door panel concept has 5 functional surfaces | Autocar Professional

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Continental has combined its functional surface solutions in a compact model. The technology company’s Door Panel Concept, with five different functional suraces, showcases its diverse surface expertise.

According to Continental, the Door Panel Concept has not only been well received by customers, it was also recently honoured with the CMF Design Award 2023 in Shenzhen, China. The award was presented by a jury of international experts for outstanding achievements in colour, material and finish. Elements of the Space D design concept, where Continental has combined the functions of living, driving and working in an interior oasis concept, can also be found in the new model. The Space D design concept was presented for the first time at the IAA Mobility 2023.

“Trends are the intelligent cockpit and the third space, i.e. the driving, working and relaxing experience combined in the vehicle as a third space alongside the home and workplace,” explains Burak Uezel, Global Head of Automotive Design at the surface specialists at ContiTech. In (partially) autonomous vehicles with quiet electric drives, drivers and passengers no longer have to focus so much on visual or acoustic impressions from outside. “The focus is more on the interior, on the design and functionality of controls that can be integrated into surfaces,” says Uezel.

According to Continental, when developing functional surfaces, it always focuses on the user experience. Examples include breathable surfaces for comfort on long journeys on hot days or morphing controls. “The award for our Door Panel Concept is confirmation of our advanced design approach,” says Uezel. The translucent Xpreshn Hylite Concept and the directly heatable surface concept material from Continental, called heatable technology, are also shown on the model. “This allows us to illustrate various scenarios such as autonomous driving, standing in a traffic jam or getting into a car. In addition, there are various settings for activities such as eating, relaxing, watching movies, working and playing, which allow users to enjoy a varied experience in the vehicle,” explains Uezel.

Completely new human-machine interfaces
Xpreshn Hylite Concept, which is indistinguishable from conventional surfaces when unlit, becomes visible as soon as it is illuminated from behind. The material can be used to integrate mood and task-dependent ambient lighting into the vehicle interior and harmonize it with other light sources such as switches. This enables completely new human-machine interfaces.

“Car manufacturers can design their vehicles much more individually with our surface materials,” says Uezel. Continental has also developed a translucent surface material that can be fully recycled. “The Panel Concept puts our surface solutions in direct relation to the megatrends of the global automotive industry and mobility in general. We are not only demonstrating our innovative strength, but also want to inspire vehicle manufacturers to create modern and sustainable interior solutions,” emphasizes Uezel.

Fast and efficient heating
Continental’s new heatable technology concept is also part of the Door Panel Concept. With this solution, the heating elements are integrated directly into the surface material and enable heating close to the body, which has a direct effect on the driver and passengers. The fast and efficient technology can be applied to a variety of surface materials and is not limited by the shape of the required heating area. It can therefore be used for components like seats, backrests and armrests for example.

As an invisible, slim and particularly lightweight heating system, the material also achieves significant weight savings compared to conventional systems. It is therefore particularly suitable for use in electric vehicles to offset the weight of the heavy battery storage system to a small extent.

All photos: Continental

 

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