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A Carbon Fiber Aveo? GM Aims To Put Carbon Fiber To Use

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On: Thu, Dec 15, 2011 at 5:08PM | By: Chris Weiss

A Carbon Fiber Aveo? GM Aims To Put Carbon Fiber To Use

Carbon fiber is nothing new in the auto industry. Its specific blend of superior strength and ultralight weight has made it the darling of the motorsports and exotic car industries. As with anything else, as time goes on and manufacturing processes get cheaper, carbon fiber should foreseeably get integrated into more everyday vehicles, first premium vehicles and then standard vehicles.

GM has decided to help push that reality a little faster. It announced that it will team up with carbon fiber/composite manufacturer Teijin Limited. The companies will work together with a goal of implenting the wunder-composite into mainstream cars and trucks.

Though a carbon fiber business agreement might sound like news that only lab nerds and stock junkies can get excited about, this partnership is quite significant. Or at least it could be. If successful, we could see carbon fiber quickly move from marques like Ferrari and Lamborghini to everyday cars from Chevy and GMC.

“Our relationship with Teijin provides the opportunity to revolutionize the way carbon fiber is used in the automotive industry,” GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky said in a statement. “This technology holds the potential to be an industry game changer and demonstrates GM’s long-standing commitment to innovation.”

Carbon fiber has traditionally been used to boost performance. According to GM's press release, the material packages 10 times the strength of steel with a quarter the weight. Carbon fiber can deliver high-performance components that have the all the strength needed with far less weight. Less weight is equivalent to faster, quicker cars.

Less weight also offers another advantage: better fuel economy. It's this advantage that GM is most interested in. Outside of a few cars like the Chevy Corvette and Camaro, Chevy doesn't need to shave pounds for high performance, but increasing the efficiency of its everyday models will help it to meet government regulations and appeal to consumers looking for more efficient, cleaner cars.

Teijin's proprietary carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastic molding technique allows it to develop the material much faster than competitors, meaning that it can essentially mass produce carbon fiber components.

Teijin will build the Teijin Composites Application Center in the northern part of the United States early next year to get the partnership moving.



Stephy21 | 9:25AM (Fri, Dec 16, 2011)

I think this would be a great thing to have in every day cars.

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