Carbon fiber continues its auto growth

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: January 17, 2014 10:13 am ET
Updated: January 17, 2014 11:25 am ET

Image By: Infiniti Motor Co. Ltd. The Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge sports car concept uses its carbon fiber trim to funnel wind to the rear tires and cool the brakes.

Related to this story

Topics Automotive
Companies & Associations BMW AG, General Motors Co., Nissan Motor Corp., Toyota Motor Corp.

DETROIT — The auto industry is continuing to dream in carbon fiber. And those dreams are increasingly making it to the street.

Both General Motors Co. and BMW AG introduced cars at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit Jan. 13 that use more carbon fiber composites than their previous models.

The Chevrolet Corvette Z06 has a standard removable carbon fiber roof panel — so drivers have an open air option without losing their composite cover. The Z06 follows up on 2013's introduction of the Corvette Stingray, with a carbon fiber hood and fixed roof.

BMW's new M3 sedan and M4 coupe both have carbon fiber roof systems.

The M series' use of composites is key to reducing about 80 kilograms of weight from both models. Ian Robertson, a member of the BMW board of manager and the head of sales and marketing for BMW, said the project also shows that the German automaker's investment in carbon fiber material production in Moses Lake, Wash., and molding capabilities in Germany will continue to play a part in future vehicles.

BMW, based in Munich, Germany, is also bringing its all-electric i3 to North America in May. The i3 has an all carbon fiber structure, and first went on sale in Europe in December.

Toyota Motor Corp. of Toyota City, Japan, developed in-house processing capabilities for carbon fiber for its Lexus division, but with the FT-1 concept car, it is intended to help show the company's passion for cars within the main Toyota brand.

"At Toyota, we make great vehicles with great quality, but what [company leader Akio Toyoda] wanted us to do is to make a car you fall in love with," said William Chergosky, project design manager at Toyota's Calty Design Research group.

For the concept car, the Calty designers were given the freedom not only to create something to "make the heart flutter," as Toyoda put it, but imagine production that is not quite viable at this time.

The FT-1's carbon fiber exterior door panel, for example, was envisioned as being made in one large mold in one step, Chergosky said.

The large one-piece hood swoops down for a split front end with exposed carbon fiber trim that would skim over the surface.

"Creating that particular face, that's something that evolved just looking at some of the aero considerations we had," Chergosky said.

Aerodynamics also played into the use of carbon fiber exterior trim in the Q50 Eau Rouge concept from Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.'s Infiniti luxury brand.

Unlike a pure concept car, the Eau Rouge is intended to indicate what future production could be, "if [Infiniti] was to build a performance version of the Q50."

In this case, designers and engineers with the Tokyo-based automaker created what they termed a "bespoke" carbon fiber trim that would also serve to cool the rear brakes.

Infiniti wants to use the curving capabilities available through molding to funnel passing air directly where it is needed to improve the brakes on the sports car.

The carbon fiber would then not only be a styling point for the Eau Rouge, but also enhance performance, the company said.


Comments

Carbon fiber continues its auto growth

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: January 17, 2014 10:13 am ET
Updated: January 17, 2014 11:25 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Plastikon expanding in Kentucky

October 17, 2014 11:24 am ET

Automotive supplier Plastikon Industries Inc. plans to more than double the size of its production facility in Leitchfield, Ky.    More

Image

Momentive gearing up for some timely LSR sales

October 17, 2014 10:58 am ET

Momentive Performance Materials Inc. has plenty of time for customers at Fakuma — thanks to colorful new watchbands made with the firm's fiber-...    More

Image

Plastics News Now: Humanoid robot shows off skills at Fakuma

October 16, 2014 7:07 am ET

A workerbot, with a smile on its face, was a big attraction at Fakuma this week, plus a mostly composite helicopter takes flight and SPI is looking...    More

Image

Chrysler's Busse has a surprise for you

October 16, 2014 6:00 am ET

Chrysler Group's interior design chief Klaus Busse and his team enjoy hiding what they call "Easter eggs" throughout Chrysler Group vehicles for...    More

Image

Yazaki expanding in Romania

October 16, 2014 6:36 am ET

Japanese car parts maker Yazaki Corp. has unveiled plans to open two new production facilities in Romania, reported local business daily Ziarul Financ...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 million dollar plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events