We hope to propose the value required for future mobility
and co-create it with our customers.

Next-generation Concept Car

AKXY2

WHY?

Why Asahi Kasei creates cocept cars

Asahi Kasei launched a full-scale project to create concept cars in April 2016.

However, the Company was rather a late starter because many other chemical manufacturers had already embarked on their projects to create concept cars. A project team was formed with staff members selected from inside the Company, all of whom were unfamiliar with the creation of vehicles. In addition, having a very wide range of products for automotive applications, Asahi Kasei faced difficulty focusing on a specific concept and representing it.

Nevertheless, with valuable support from external partners with great expertise in vehicle creation, we have been able to pursue the uniqueness of Asahi Kasei and create concept cars in order to raise customer awareness of Asahi Kasei’s wide variety of mobility initiatives, increase our own understanding of mobility itself, and unite all Asahi Kasei staff to work on the mobility business. The AKXY advocated a novel way of contributing to automotive safety, comfort, and environmental performance, while the AKXY POD proposed a future mobility space that could bring great comfort through the senses. The AKXY2 will propose the value required for future mobility, which we hope to co-create with our customers.

Asahi Kasei x You

“We hope to partner with people in the automotive industry to co-create new value.”

2017

2017

AKXY

Showcases a wide variety of onboard products and automotive technologies to raise public awareness of Asahi Kasei’s comprehensive capabilities

2019

2019

AKXY POD

Demonstrates a comfortable space inside a moving vehicle in anticipation of an era of autonomous vehicles

2022

2022

AKXY2

Sustainability, Satisfaction, Society the AKXY2 embodies the “three S” concept by Asahi Kasei

CONCEPT MOVIE 

Concept

AKXY2 Proposes a Concept Focused on the “three Ss”

Sustainablity Satisfaction Society

The conceptual pillars of the AKXY2 are the “three Ss,” which are essential factors in increasing the value of automobiles. The three Ss are “Sustainability” in automotive life cycle, “Satisfaction” with automobiles, and “Society” to think of next level integration of vehicles into everyday lives.

Amid the increasingly serious problems of climate change, sustainability is an issue for which manufacturers must fulfill their responsibilities and a theme that urgently requires humankind to gather their wisdom. The AKXY2 features Asahi Kasei’s various materials and technologies that can currently contribute to sustainability and will demonstrate their power more and more brilliantly from now on.

Satisfaction is a theme that is related closely to the senses, intuition, and mental and physical happiness. The AKXY2 adopts unique approaches and implements ideas that are unprecedented in conventional vehicle creation while meeting heightened requirements for value that automobiles are always required to provide universally, including comfort.

Society is the core concept of the AKXY2, because the concept car represents a future vision of automobiles from the perspective of their relationship with society. A particularly critical factor here is the COVID-19 pandemic, which rapidly spread worldwide before one year had passed since the unveiling of the AKXY POD, our second concept model. The pandemic has unavoidably changed our society and has led us to reflect profoundly on the value of cars in society. For example, a car can provide a space for users to devote themselves to their own activities while ensuring their privacy. A car can also enable users to enjoy real experience and communication that they could not achieve remotely. In these manners, cars can enrich people’s hearts. We designed the concept car while considering anew this benefit that cars bring to us.

Our journey with the AKXY2 is not yet finished by our own efforts alone. The world today is filled with difficult challenges and requires us to have the will to continue to tackle the question of how we can create a brighter future. We envision that, in this situation, the AKXY2 will serve as a seed of discussions and co-creation with you to produce one-of-a-kind fruits of automotive industry.

Sustainablity Sustainability

Sustainability in automotive production

Sustainability of the automotive industry is expected to be a pivot of green recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The shift to EVs is accelerating, and governments are imposing tougher environmental regulations on materials, production processes, etc. As a direct answer to this trend, the AKXY2 proposes solutions based on materials and technologies. It uses a newly developed coating agent, which reinforces transparent resin. The new coating enabled not only the replacement of heavy glass with resin but also flexible design, which could not be achieved with glass.

Moreover, the AKXY2 is designed to reduce the environmental impact of each stage of its production process, proposing an approach to making the entire life cycle of automobiles, from production and distribution to disposal, more sustainable. A prominent example of a contributory factor can be found in its coating process. Among all conventional production processes, the coating process in particular has caused severe environmental pollution and has had adverse impacts on the health of workers. To address this issue, the AKXY2 uses more environment-friendly and safer surface coating. Furthermore, the AKXY2 is also made of novel materials developed through research on how to replace conventional raw materials with plant-based ones and how to recycle recovered materials. In this way, the AKXY2 embodies the ongoing pursuit of sustainability.

Satisfaction Satisfaction

Satisfaction with automobiles

The satisfaction of automobile users depends on everything they experience on board, including the exterior and interior designs and functions, sounds, temperature, feeling of motion, the comfort level of the seat, touch, sounds of voices, and views from the windows. The AKXY2 features high-performance materials and electronics technologies tailored thereto, which have been especially selected from Asahi Kasei’s wide lineup of such materials and technologies.

In anticipation of a world that autonomous driving technology will permeate, the concept car also proposes a new form of satisfaction, which conventional vehicles could not have brought. The AKXY2 has very soft, movable cushion seats, instead of hard fixed seats. The seat layout can be changed, and the seats can be taken out of the car. The interior wall has a circumferential groove, into which you can insert a wooden table top. In addition, the carpet is changeable. The AKXY2 is therefore designed to enable users to customize the interior space as they like.

Strong trends toward changes, including the EV shift, have been bringing unprecedented ideas to the automotive industry, giving birth to unique designs and novel functions one after another into the world. The AKXY2 represents our belief that automobiles will provide more comfortable, freer spaces in the future. Why not experience the AKXY2 first-hand, by getting inside and touching it?

Society Society

Society as a partner of automobiles

The COVID-19 pandemic has led people to reconsider their ways of using time and space. Some people now want to have their own room for remote work, while others now want to spend their time without close contact with other people. In response to this trend, the AKXY2 redefines an automobile as a private space where users can do what they want to while staying connected with society, whether or not the vehicle is moving. To realize the concept, the AKXY2 is designed to give users as great a feeling of openness as possible, with its entire upper half, including the roof, made of transparent resin, which is used as an alternative to glass. Users on board can see outside in all directions, 360 degrees, feeling as if they are in an open space despite actually being in a closed space. The AKXY2 is designed to allow users to sit on not only movable seats and sofas but also its front, rear and deck. Users can feel gently connected with the external environment, as if they are on an engawa (porch) of a traditional Japanese-style house.

Imagine driving to a campsite in a AKXY2 and gazing at the starry sky. You may park the AKXY2 on the roadside and enjoy a cup of tea with your friend. Or you can park it at your house and use it as your own room. We would be delighted if customers’ experience of the AKXY2 ignited their imagination to allow them to develop ideas for new uses for it or things they could do in it, and explore a new future for joyful automobiles together with us.

Design

The design that embodies the concept

Our endeavor to design the AKXY2 started with an exploration of a way to embody the “three S” as intuitionally as possible. Just as with the AKXY, our first concept car, we have adopted a circular motif, which gives smooth surfaces and lines to the AKXY2 too. As a symbol of circulation and the cycle of nature, the motif represents sustainability and harmony between humankind and the environment. This circular motif dominates all design elements of the AKXY2, including not only its front and rear but also its “toproll(trim) ,” exterior, and canopy. This circle is effectively used to add a sense of familiarity to the attractive, unconstrained shape of the vehicle. The silver-colored aluminum-paste coating creates a cutting-edge, neutral exterior appearance, emphasizing the shading of the gently curved surfaces. We envision that everyone will live a seamless flow of life even in mobile spaces in the future. The AKXY2 toproll(trim) is equipped with a magnetic grid and wall slits so that car travel will not disrupt the steady flow of people’s life activities. The grid and slits enable users to attach various products, such as chairs and tables, to the floor and wall to personalize the interior space. In addition, air-conditioning equipment, sensors, and other devices can be inserted into the slits. Moreover, with various effectively arranged elements, the personal interior space is designed to be able to extend gradually at several levels. In a sharp contrast with the exterior, the interior is colorful and unique. Colorful fabrics and sustainable materials create an interior space that represents the era of diversity. A wood deck is attached to the exterior of the toproll(trim) , with benches attached to the front and rear of the vehicle, while the canopy can open vertically, enabling various uses both inside and out, 360 degrees. We have designed the AKXY2 to be able to exist in society as a bridge between the static and dynamic modes of people’s lives and enrich their lives while blurring the boundary between inside and outside. This concept car embodies our dream of creating a car that will be loved for a long time.

石丸 竜平

CEO of Fortmarei Corporation, the designer of AKXY, AKXY POD, and AKXY2

Ryuhei Ishimaru

https://fortmarei.com/

Stories

Behind-the-scene facts of AKXY2 development

01

Why does Asahi Kasei create future automobiles?

Why does Asahi Kasei create future automobiles?

: Continuing to tackle the challenges of creating concept cars: the AKXY, the AKXY POD, and the AKXY2

It is said that the automotive industry is in an age of once-in-a-century drastic change. Why does Asahi Kasei, which is not an automotive manufacturer, create concept cars? What message do these concept cars embody? Learn more about how the concept-car initiatives have been launched and what aspirations the project members have.

Read the interview →

02

What next generation “satisfaction” can we expect from AKXY2?

What next generation “satisfaction” can we expect from AKXY2?

We will focus on our “PTT car floor mat” and “MEF Beads” as primary examples that contribute to Satisfaction among the various Asahi Kasei products in AKXY2. First, what type of unique features and appealing aspects convey the “Satisfaction” of AKXY2?

Read the interview →

Products

Installed items

Sustainability/Satisfaction

A metallic pigment for paint, inks, and resin compound.

Aluminum paste

Metallic pigment that creates a beautiful, kaleidoscopic shine

Asahi Kasei’s aluminum paste is a metallic pigment that adds brightness and optical features to the product appearance. Embodying the Company’s world-leading technological prowess, this product satisfies customer needs in a wide range of applications, including automobiles, home appliances, IT devices, and inks.

Reasons for use

When you see a car, the first thing that leaps into your eyes is its exterior appearance. A high-quality appearance is a very important factor for greater satisfaction when buying and using the car. Asahi Kasei’s aluminum paste (metallic pigment) can contribute to the beautiful metallic design of not only the car body but also the exterior and interior parts made of resin and other materials, thereby enhancing user satisfaction.
The product can also be applied to more environmental water-based coatings and coatless finishes with our processing and other technologies.

Detail

Sustainability/Satisfaction

High-weatherability crosslinker for 1K/2K Polyurethane coatings and resins

DURANATE™

Low viscosity curing agent that contributes to low VOC and reduces environmental burden

DURANATE™ is a curing agent for urethane coatings. Urethane coatings hardened with DURANATE™ have not only high weather resistance, but also excellent mechanical and chemical properties. In addition, our unique technologies—low viscosity and low-temperature curability—contribute to reducing VOCs and CO2, thereby contributing to reducing environmental burden.

Reasons for use

Various parts of the car are surfaced with a glossy clear coat, which not only protects those surfaces but also contributes to increasing the design value of the car. DURANATE™ is contained in the clear coat used for the AKXY2’s body and the side table not only to make them look beautiful but also to reduce the environmental impacts.

Detail

Sustainability/Satisfaction

Solution Styrene Butadiene Rubber (SSBR)

TUFDENE™

Realizing both high performance and sustainability of tires

Asahi Kasei’s functionalized solution styrene-butadiene rubber (SSBR) is used as the base material for silica compound tires to achieve not only superb performance (in terms of grip, steering stability, etc.) but also high sustainability (fuel efficiency and long life thanks to enhanced wear resistance).

Reasons for use

Higher EV electricity efficiency will lead to lower charging frequency, greater user convenience, and smaller environmental impacts. To achieve this, the AKXY2’s tires use Tufdene™ as the base material, which enables both a satisfactory level of steering performance and electricity efficiency. Tufdene™ also makes tires more wear-resistant and stronger, thereby contributing to the longer life of the tires and consequently sustainability.

Detail

Sustainability/Satisfaction/Society

Clear paint

Hard Coating for Polycarbonate Glazing (under development)

Enabling resin to replace glass as a windshield material

This water-based glazing can make resin windshields wear-resistant enough to meet windshield standards even without using plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (CVD) while maintaining their weather- and chemical-resistance at the required level.

Reasons for use

The front and rear windshields and side windows of an ordinary car are mostly glass. To implement a design idea that would be difficult with glass, for AKXY2, we have replaced glass with resin, whose surfaces are glazed so that it can be as durable as glass. The glazed resin not only brings greater design freedom but also likely helps reduce the weight of the car and consequently improve its electricity efficiency.

Detail

Sustainability/Satisfaction

Isocyanate hardeners

X-TTI (under development)

The world’s first isocyanate made from CO2

Using CO2 as a raw material, X-TTI contributes to reducing CO2 emissions from its production. It also contributes to the reduction of CO2 emissions during the coating process by lowering even further the low-temperature baking temperature.

Reasons for use

The clear coat on the AKXY2’s body contains not only DURANATE™, which already has a proven track record, but also X-TTI, a curing agent we are currently developing. X-TTI is an environmentally friendly curing agent that boasts high coating performance even when used for a low-temperature baking finish. Its most prominent feature is that it is the world’s first curing agent made from CO2. We believe that this item embodies sustainability as one of the three pillars of the AKXY2’s concept.

Sustainability/Satisfaction

Acrylic resin

DELPET™ PB series

The new standard for jet-black

The DELPET™ PB series is a true-jet-black acrylic resin that reflects little external light. There is a wide lineup of products covering different grades, which can meet customer requirements for high fluidity, solvent resistance, etc. This series is an ideal choice for use in parts that need a superb appearance.

Reasons for use

The amount of information displayed on automotive instrument panels has recently been increasing, resulting in users spending more time looking at the screen. In the belief that better appearance of the parts of the instrument panel and its surroundings will lead to greater user satisfaction, we use the DELPET™ PB series of true-jet-black acrylic resins and ensure that the Asahi Kasei logo stands out.

Detail

Satisfaction

Optical resin

AZP™ (under development)

Achieving nearly zero birefringence

AZP™ is a new transparent optical polymer with nearly zero birefringence achieved through Asahi Kasei’s proprietary molecular design and polymerization technology. Despite having birefringence as low as glass, the product is lightweight and highly resistant to heat and light, contributing to a wide variety of onboard solutions.

Reasons for use

AZP™ is a new optical polymer with birefringence as low as that of glass. It also weighs less and brings greater design freedom than glass does. The AKXY2 showcases the use of AZP™ for a display cover on the instrument panel. The material provides a solution to poor visibility caused by birefringence, which has long been an unsolved problem with conventional polymers. It offers a clear view even through polarized sunglasses.

Detail

Sustainability/Satisfaction/Society

Foamed Polyethylene

MEF™

Flexible but tough
Enabling design freedom

MEF™ is Asahi Kasei’s proprietary moldable polyethylene foam. It is used in a variety of applications, including cushioning, industrial materials, and miscellaneous goods. This product is flexible, strong, and elastic. Furthermore, it has excellent physical properties such as resistance to oil, chemicals, and heat.

Reasons for use

We decided to use this product because we considered how we could provide users with the experience of stopping the car to relax, just as they do in their living rooms. We hit upon the idea of installing soft, comfortable seats in the AKXY2 to enable users to relax and feel at home. Therefore, we equipped the car with plumply cushioned stools packed with non- foamed MEF™ beads.

Detail

Sustainability/Satisfaction

Polycarbonatediol (PCD)

DURANOL™

Environmentally friendly material with excellent durability

DURANOL™ can make polyurethane even more resistant to scratches, chemicals, wear, and weather. The liquid-type varieties of the product, especially the water-dispersible ones, can contribute to reducing volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. We are also developing bio-derived varieties to help achieve sustainability.

Reasons for use

A coating material containing DURANOL™ is used for the stool bases, the layers of the side table, and other interior parts of the AKXY2 to add a comfortable feel to the surfaces of those parts that users often touch. DURANOL™ can not only create a soft feel but also reduce environmental impacts by making coated objects more durable.

Detail

Sustainability/Satisfaction

Polypropylene Compound

Soform™

Adding a luxury feel to the interior surface

Thermylene® SoForm™ is a glass-fiber-reinforced polypropylene compound featuring a surprisingly soft touch. With superior resistance to weather and scratches, the product gives an excellent appearance to automotive interior parts with no need for painting.

Reasons for use

A longer time spent in the car means more frequent direct contact with various automotive interior parts. The AKXY2 has wireless charging ports embedded in the side table, whose often-touched parts are surfaced with soft-feeling Thermylene® SoForm™, which does not need coating. The material has added a comfortable feel and scratch resistance to those non-coated surfaces. We believe that use of this material will help raise the level of user satisfaction.

Detail

Sustainability/Satisfaction

High-weatherability crosslinker for 1K/2K Polyurethane coatings and resins

DURANATE™

Low viscosity curing agent that contributes to low VOC and reduces environmental burden

DURANATE™ is a curing agent for urethane coatings. Urethane coatings hardened with DURANATE™ have not only high weather resistance, but also excellent mechanical and chemical properties. In addition, our unique technologies—low viscosity and low-temperature curability—contribute to reducing VOCs and CO2, thereby contributing to reducing environmental burden.

Reasons for use

Various parts of the car are surfaced with a glossy clear coat, which not only protects those surfaces but also contributes to increasing the design value of the car. DURANATE™ is contained in the clear coat used for the AKXY2’s body and the side table not only to make them look beautiful but also to reduce the environmental impacts.

Detail

Sustainability/Satisfaction

Polycarbonatediol (PCD)

DURANOL™

Environmentally friendly material with excellent durability

DURANOL™ can make polyurethane even more resistant to scratches, chemicals, wear, and weather. The liquid-type varieties of the product, especially the water-dispersible ones, can contribute to reducing volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. We are also developing bio-derived varieties to help achieve sustainability.

Reasons for use

A coating material containing DURANOL™ is used for the stool bases, the layers of the side table, and other interior parts of the AKXY2 to add a comfortable feel to the surfaces of those parts that users often touch. DURANOL™ can not only create a soft feel but also reduce environmental impacts by making coated objects more durable.

Detail

Sustainability/Satisfaction

Non-woven fabric and fiber

Dinamica®

Smooth and elegant texture

Dinamica® is artificial leather with unique tri-layer structure composed of ultra-fine short fiber and water-based polyurethane. It is produced in part by using recycled materials without the use of organic solvents. Also, custom-made surface designs can be applied.

Reasons for use

The texture and design of a car interior have significant impact on user’s satisfaction. To enhance the satisfaction of the side table and seats, AKXY2 is equipped with Dinamica, which provides high-quality texture. The production process is free of organic solvents and uses partially recycled materials, contributing to reduce the environmental burden.

Detail

Sustainability/Satisfaction/Society

NDIR Technology CO2 Sensor

CO2 Sensor for Automotive (under development)

Monitoring the quality of air inside the vehicle

Combining a high-performance infrared receptor/emitter using Asahi Kasei’s proprietary compound semiconductor technology with Senseair’s optical path designing technology, this onboard CO2 sensor is more reliable than conventional gas sensors, performing highly accurate measurements with ultra-low power consumption. It provides solutions for improving the quality of the air inside the vehicle, extending the driving range of electric vehicles (EVs), and preventing children or pets from being left behind in the car.

Reasons for use

It is said that high CO2 concentrations due to breathing in a poorly ventilated space will make people there sleepy and impair their judgment. A combination of the use of the CO2 sensor, which monitors the quality of the air inside the vehicle, can help keep the interior environment comfortable. Optimized ventilation based on monitored air quality will help cut down energy consumption for air-conditioning and improve the car’s electricity efficiency.

Detail

Sustainability/Satisfaction/Society

Filament

PTT Floor Mat

Keeping the automotive interior environment clean

The stain-resistant, easy-to-clean PTT Vehicle Floor Mat can keep the automotive interior environment comfortable. In addition to its antifouling properties, the product features excellent elasticity so that it wears well even with long-term use. Moreover, as it is made of PTT containing plant-derived substances, the floor mat is environmentally friendly.

Reasons for use

Cleaning the automotive interior space requires effort and is troublesome. The PTT Vehicle Floor Mat used in the AKXY2 is so stain-resistant that it helps reduce the effort needed for cleaning. It also wears so well even with long-term use that users can totally relax on it. Made of PTT containing plant-derived substances, the mat is as comfortable and sustainable as the seats.

Detail

Satisfaction/Society

Audio voice DSP (digital signal processor)

AK7016

Enabling voice commands on onboard devices with a digital signal processor (DSP) specially designed for audio and voice processing

The voice command device based on the AK7016 enables users to control onboard devices by voice. The algorithm optimized for the automotive interior environment realizes highly accurate voice recognition even with road noise at high speeds. With no need for an internet connection, the voice recognition technology is highly responsive. Beamforming-based directional control enables multiple users in different seats to give voice commands independently.

Reasons for use

A car has various functions that provide users with a comfortable in-vehicle experience. However, hard-to-use functions cannot demonstrate their true value nor be called “user-friendly” functions. The AKXY2 is equipped with a voice command device based on the AK7016 to enable users to use those functions in an easy, intuitive manner: by speech. This technology proposes a new relationship between car and people not dependent on the senses of sight and touch.

Satisfaction/Society

Plastic optical fiber

POF

POF is a product engineered by world-leading polymer and spinning technologies of Asahi Kasei.

Asahi Kasei’s plastic optical fiber (POF) products combine the Company’s polymer and spinning technologies.
With high light transmission and flexibility, these products can be designed according to the application. Therefore, they are used in a wide range of applications, including light guides, optical communication, ornaments using side emission, fiber sensors, and industrial endoscopes.

Reasons for use

A car should have not only various functions but also indicators that show the statuses thereof. If those indicators are normally unnoticeable to the user and only stand out when necessary, they will not detract from the overall harmony of the design. In the AKXY2, POF is used to enable indicators built into the seats to be illuminated through the fabric surfaces of the seats.

Detail

Sustainability/Satisfaction

Filament

Cubit™

Enabling a comfortable ride

Featuring a three-dimensional honeycomb structure, Cubit™ has excellent resilience, ventilation, durability, and washability. It contributes to weight reduction by replacing urethane in various interior material applications. With a high level of light transmission, the product contributes to good interior design as a material for ceilings, doors, etc.

Reasons for use

Seats that have excellent body pressure distribution and ventilation can allow users to stay comfortable with reduced discomfort due to fatigue or stuffiness, even if they sit for a long time. In addition, the use of recycled and plant-derived materials for those seats can contribute to reducing environmental impacts. For the AKXY2, we use Cubit™, which features a three-dimensional honeycomb structure, to create comfortable and sustainable seats.

Detail

Sustainability/Satisfaction

Polycarbonatediol (PCD)

DURANOL™

Environmentally friendly material with excellent durability

DURANOL™ can make polyurethane even more resistant to scratches, chemicals, wear, and weather. The liquid-type varieties of the product, especially the water-dispersible ones, can contribute to reducing volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. We are also developing bio-derived varieties to help achieve sustainability.

Reasons for use

A coating material containing DURANOL™ is used for the stool bases, the layers of the side table, and other interior parts of the AKXY2 to add a comfortable feel to the surfaces of those parts that users often touch. DURANOL™ can not only create a soft feel but also reduce environmental impacts by making coated objects more durable.

Detail

The real AKXY2 will be unveiled at the Automotive Engineering Exposition 2022 in Yokohama.
We look forward to seeing many visitors there.

人とくるまのテクノロジー展 2022 YOKOHAMA 人とくるまのテクノロジー展 2022 YOKOHAMA

Automotive Engineering
Exposition 2022

Exhibit Report2022 5/25〜27

Learn more →