With its outstandinghigh-quality appearance, efficient temperature management system and scratch resistance, the smart Forvision combines unique design with forward-looking innovations. BASF’s intelligent paint systems have turned the concept vehicle – which was presented by smart and BASF at the 2011 IAA – into astylish technology trendsetter.

Painted in white and accentuated by smart’s Tridion safety cell coated with a copper-colored Liquid Metal basecoat, the Forvision is a real eye catcher. The white special-effect paint, which reflects heat rays, provides for an intelligent temperature management system. Both the panels and the cell of the smart Forvision are also painted with BASF’s extremely scratch-resistant iGloss® hybrid clearcoat. In addition, a special technology was used: a clearcoat system for the transparent organic solar cells in the roof of the car.

“We are proud to have joined forces with smart to develop the Forvision. We have applied our intelligent technologies to integrate features such as outstanding scratch resistanceinto the paint,” said Thomas Fritzsche, BASF’s Global Account Manager for Daimler. “As a complete system, the paint also allows better temperature management. This helps us to make an important contribution to sustainable urban mobility.”


White Panels Reflect Heat Radiation

With its brilliant high-quality appearance, the white waterborne special-effect paint accentuates the Forvision’s unique design. The integrated glass flakes in the paint create a gleaming look. White colors reflect light and heat rays from the sun particularly well, supporting the extensive temperature management system of the car.

But even surfaces coated with dark colors stay much cooler thanks to special “Cool Pigments” from BASF. They ensure that heat radiation is reflected rather than absorbed. As a result, energy for air conditioning can be saved because the passenger compartment does not heat up as much. This benefits the passengers, who enjoy the more comfortable environment, and the material is subjected to less stress due to the lower temperatures.


Liquid Metal Special Effect Paint Applied to the Tridion Safety Cell

BASF’s patented Liquid Metal paint gives the passenger compartment a futuristic appearance. BASF successfully developed this waterborne special-effect paint for automotive OEM coating use. The copper-colored version used on the Forvision uses aluminum flakes to produce a reflective surface that creates a transition from light to dark, depending on the viewing angle, and to strongly accentuate the curved surfaces of a car body. Known as the flip effect, this is influenced by the size, distribution and shape of the aluminum particles. The thinner the flakes are, the larger their average diameter is, and the more uniform their alignment, the more powerful the interplay between light and shadows.

For the latest generation of Liquid Metal paints, BASF uses physical vapor deposited aluminum (PVDA) pigments. To produce these, aluminum is steamed onto a paint-coated foil. Afterwards, the resulting aluminum film is peeled off and ground into the desired flake size. The thickness of these PVDA pigments is between 30 and 50 nanometers, or approximately 10 to 20 times thinner than conventional effect pigments. The grittiness of the paint is significantly reduced; at the same time, the thin aluminum flakes are more mobile in the wet film and fall into a position parallel to the substrate surface more easily.

The result is that the paint film has a more uniform appearance and seems to stretch across the car’s body like a metallic skin. The surfaces reflect the light with greater intensity and take on additional gloss. The metallic look created has an intensity that could not previously be achieved with conventional metallic paints. BASF has also developed a waterborne paint system that aligns the aluminum flakes in a homogeneous manner, which allows this special-effect automotive finish to be achieved in the first place.


Brilliant Panels and Cell Thanks to iGloss®

Both the panels and the cell of the smart Forvision are also painted with the extremely scratch-resistant iGloss hybrid clearcoat from BASF. iGloss obtains its special scratch resistance from its special lattice structure, as it combines the advantages of “hard” inorganic and “soft” organic substances. Combining the two ensures long-lasting gloss and greater durability. The new effect of the paint is retained longer, conserving the vehicle’s pristine appearance for a longer period. The technology does not require any significant changes in the application process.


Clearcoat System with UV Absorber

The hexagonal transparent areas on the roof of the smart Forvision are an eye-catching feature – it’s the first roof that lets light through and also generates energy. The entire roof surface is covered with transparent organic photovoltaic (OPV) that are coated with a special clearcoat system. BASF’s clearcoat is not only extremely scratch-resistant, but it also has UV absorbers that are especially well-suited for organic solar cells. While these absorbers offer protection from UV radiation, they let the visible sunlight through that can be converted into electricity by the solar cells. The paint hardens at room temperature in a matter of 10 hours. Baking or oven drying it would destroy the cells.

White Special Effect Paint for All-Plastic Wheels

In the smart Forvision, a world innovation yields a considerable weight reduction and a unique design: the first all-plastic Ultramid®-structure wheel rim suitable for high-volume production. The appearance is supported by BASF’s white special-effect paint, which forms a single visual unit with the panels. When coating plastic add-on parts – from the side mirrors to the bumpers – BASF drew on years of expertise. The paint must meet all of the technical properties required for plastics and, at the same time, must ensure the color harmony of the body. BASF has extensive competence in colorimetry and color matching, partly thanks to its ColorCARE®software. ColorCARE ensures optimum color harmonization, meaning that all parts of a car that are coated separately are the same color in the end.


High-Tech No Thicker Than a Hair for Smart Forvision 

BASF’s paint systems are high-tech products that are no thicker than a human hair. They not only provide color and a brilliant appearance, however. The smart Forvision concept vehicle demonstrates the significance of intelligent paint systems for the mobile challenges of tomorrow with the high scratch resistance of the clearcoat and with its temperature management system.

Further information on BASF is available on the Internet at www.basf.com.