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Automakers taking an “enlightened” approach

By FaezClutchless on 28 Nov 2011

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The usage of lightweight materials in cars is not something new. Many automakers have done it and this trend is increasing. Usually, carbon fibre is the preferred material choice. Recent reports have shown that several automakers plans to shed more weight from their cars by infusing more carbon fibre parts and some have even invested in companies that manufacture carbon fibre.

The main factors of carbon fibre usage are pretty well known. It is light in weight, pretty strong and for some; it gives out an image of exclusivity especially when most people know that it is an expensive material.

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The Lamborghini Aventador is one good example of how automakers infuse carbon fibre into their creations. The Aventador’s body is built entirely with carbon fibre materials, mainly carbon fibre reinforced plastics. These weight saving measures enables the car to deliver 0-100km/h in 2.9 seconds.

Just last week, BMW has obtained a 15.16% stake in SGL Carbon SE, a leading manufacturer in carbon fibre and carbon fibre reinforced parts. This piece of news is no surprise to some people in the industry as BMW has a previous joint venture with SGL to build a carbon fibre manufacturing plant in Washington, USA.

Mercedes Benz struck a deal with Japanese firm, Toray Industries last year and the Japanese firm will supply carbon fibre parts to the German automaker. It is expected that Mercedes Benz will introduce carbon fibre parts on its upcoming SL model.

Another German automaker, Audi has teamed up with Voith GmbH to source out carbon fibre parts and components. Audi’s next generation R8 will feature a hybrid of aluminium and carbon fibre parts and their SUVs will benefit substantially from these weight saving measures.

Ferrari instead will stick with its aluminium construction, even though other rival supercar manufacturers, Lamborghini and McLaren; are investing heavily on the usage of carbon fibre parts. Ferrari feels that the costs, speed of construction and construction flexibility are the main reasons why they favour aluminium.

Other automaker firms that are investing in the usage of lightweight materials in their cars are Peugeot and Mazda. Peugeot has worked on it for several years now and Mazda has taken a lightweight approach with its upcoming CX-5.

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It is obvious that the usage of lightweight parts in vehicle construction will play an important role in the future of automobile industry. With all these partnerships and joint ventures, the usage of carbon fibre parts and other lightweight materials will become more widespread and hopefully it will decrease the price of carbon fibre.

Photo credit: clutchd.com, thecarbonfiberjournal.com and photobucket.com

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Written by FaezClutchless
Some say that his blood is actually RON98 petrol and some say that his right foot weighs over 20kg. But all that we know about Faez is that he loves to drive and is a JDM enthusiast.

  • 1
I_RIDE_DEEP Nov 29 2011 12:49 PM
Carbon fibre parts very light but cannot PDR in case of dents/dings wo.... :)
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