eXasis was born from an idea of Frank M. Rinderknecht who worked in collaboration
with Bayer MaterialScience AG – one of the largest plastics producers in
the world – to create the unique transparent body and floor made of Makrolon®.
The prototype was built by the Swiss engineering specialists Esoro, and will be shown to
the public for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show (March 8-18, 2007), 40 years after
Bayer presented the first “all-plastic car” at the K67 Plastics Fair in Germany in 1967.
“Everyone who sees the eXasis for the first time raves about the glass car, but they
actually mean our transparent high-tech plastic,” says Ian Paterson, the member of the
Bayer MaterialScience Board of Management responsible for Innovation, describing the
typical reaction to the prototype.
Nearly all the Bayer MaterialScience business units
were involved in the development of the concept car, providing products such as surface
coatings and polyurethanes (for molding tools) and Makrolon® polycarbonate for the transparent body and floor.
Frank M. Rinderknecht: “In this ethereal transparency, the true spirit of the eXasis
becomes visible. An abstract idea becomes material, visions become a tangible car. Yet
the eXasis still doesn’t seem to have quite arrived in our material world.”
Compared with the latest concept cars by Rinspeed – the futuristic “Senso” and the zaZen sports car – the eXasis is a completely new development, since
it is not based on a production-line vehicle.
The insect-like, shiny yellow body with the
exposed wheels looks like a mix of the legendary Auto-Union racing cars from the first half
of the last century and an off-road vehicle, offering room for two people, one behind the
“Despite the attractive sweeping contours that bled smoothly into the car’s transparency,
the eXasis is ‘edgy’ and definitely has a character of its own.”
The reinterpretation of the frequently cited cigar form is crowned in the “sexy” rear
section with an attractively integrated ventilator and a superb matching, highly polished
Remus exhaust muffler.
And the transparency also provides an unrestricted view of the
compact 2-cylinder 750 ccm Weber engine, which, very unusually, sits above the
The outer Makrolon® shell, molded
by the Swiss firm Mecaplex and coated with a tinge of yellow by the German hard
coatings specialist, KRD, reveals the vehicle’s load-bearing aluminum chassis.
chassis looks as if it has been cut from a solid piece of material, and in fact the bulkheads
are. Despite this, the entire construction exudes a sense of lightness like bamboo,
underlined by a Lesonal chrome effect finish based on Bayer MaterialScience’s
Desmodur® and Desmophen®.
To finish the surfaces of the knobs and levers, the Bayer
experts came up with a special soft-feel coating based on waterborne binders – their sole
aim being to pamper the eyes and hands of the driver.
The head restraint and armrests are made of transparent Technogel®. The
Hightex/Sellner Group, which is specialized in interior design, was responsible not only for
the futuristic seat coverings and the design of the fabric-covered steering wheel, it has
also added a number of other stylish highlights.
One example is the innovative application
of aluminized glass fiber material with a diamond-shape design on the wheel rims, trim,
wishbones, fuel tank and headlamps.
By touching them, various functions can be displayed and controlled. Each of the touchpanels
is made of a transparent CD/DVD Makrolon® blank that has been coated with
electrically conductive Baytron® from H.C. Starck to trigger the switch functions. The
displays were developed by the Swiss safety and closure system specialists, Kaba.
personalized access system to the car is also be integrated in the touch panels.
The “eXasis” is powered by an extremely lightweight, 150 bhp Weber engine driven by
CO2-emission-reducing bioethanol. In view of the fact that the car weighs only 750 kg
because of its lightweight plastic construction, one horsepower has to shift only 5 kg.
The gear box was positioned underneath the engine. Thus an extremely short
drive train is realized which, in combination with the small installation height of the
turbo charged engine, allows for an outstanding vehicle weight distribution.
To transfer the power to the road, the KW chassis specialists have accommodated the
tailor-made spring and shock absorber units vertically in the front in the partition wall and
horizontally at the rear. The tires are Pirelli’s 22-inch High-Performance P Zero, mounted
on forged five-spoke wheels manufactured by the German wheel maker, AEZ.
The wheels are decorated with transparent “inlays” of
Makrolon® that look like small windows.
The eXasis Project
Starting with initial
concepts, it took the highly skilled development team just six months to realize the entire
Partners for the eXasis project include:
- Esoro – general
contractor for the entire vehicle project: project management,
implementation of new technologies, engineering, design and manufacturing;
- Schwaller AG – chassis engineering
- Weber Motor AG / Swissauto – engine
- Protoscar – design and styling
- KW automotive GmbH – Suspensions system
- Recaro – seats
- Sharp – LCD and multimedia system