BMW’s Gigantic Grille…Wins an Award?

The Society of Plastics Engineers’ Central Europe division holds a semi-annual SPE Automotive Awards program, seeking “outstanding developments of plastic parts for vehicle construction.” This year’s winner in the Grand Innovation category is one that’s not likely to win any design awards: The gigantic BMW grille, in this case the one blasted across the front of the BMW iX.

What’s so special about it? Plastics News points out the intricate details of its manufacture:

“The kidney-shaped panel is molded from Makrolon AG2677, a medium-viscosity, UV-stabilized, easy-release polycarbonate automotive glazing material from Covestro. It is in-mold flooded with self-healing polyurethane in a single-shot process integrating radome heating.

“Bingen, Germany-based Oerlikon Balzers Coatings Germany GmbH plasma vapor deposition (PVD) equipment creates radar-transparent diamond-shape metallic effects. The ‘intelligent surface’ panel houses camera technology, radar functions, driver assistance sensor technology and heating elements.”

With a grille that big, you’d think it could house all of that stuff and the entire battery array.