June 11, 2012 – Vol.17 No.13
RETHINKING ELECTRIC CARS -- LIGHTER VEHICLES UPDATE.
Electric cars need to lose weight for longer range. One possibility is stronger-than-steel but lighter-than-aluminum carbon fiber composites for exterior body and structural parts. Yet, until now, carbon fiber composites haven’t been mass production ready.
This from Johnson Controls:
Johnson Controls Pioneers Carbon Body Exterior Parts in Series Production.
Liquid resin press molding enables series production of carbon components
Johnson Controls, a leading global supplier of automotive interiors and electronics, is applying its expertise in natural fiber processing technology for interior components to vehicle exteriors.
"Lightweight construction is one of the key challenges for future vehicles," said Han Hendriks, vice president of global product development, interiors at Johnson Controls Automotive Experience. "We can draw on our technological know-how for the production of carbon body parts."
Previously, the production of very light carbon components involved a great deal of effort and a considerable amount of manual labor.
"We are one of the pioneers in the automotive industry for large- scale production of carbon parts, thanks to our innovative production process," said Hendriks. "We are pleased to be able to transfer that technology for use in vehicle exteriors."
The new process is based on a wet press process used by Johnson Controls since 2003 to produce wood fiber components for vehicle interiors. In the newly adapted process, a carbon fiber mat pre-moistened with resin is placed between the forming tools and then pressed. During the pressing cycle, the excess resin leaks onto the edge of the mold. This provides a very high fiber density in the body parts.
Johnson Controls is already supplying a well-known automotive manufacturer with its innovative carbon components.
RETHINKING ELECTRIC CARS - PART 1
If EV’s don’t catch on at a quicker pace, manufacturers might have to go back to the drawing board.
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