For a long time, carbon fiber was a high tech, high cost product. Slowly, carbon fiber is going mainstream. From Volkswagen to Toyota and GM, large automakers have carbon fiber projects in the works. Now, Ford is joining the bandwagon made from lightweight fiber.
Ford Â joined up with fiber specialist Dow Chemical â€śto develop cost-effective ways of using carbon fiber in high-volume cars and trucks as the No.2 U.S. automaker moves to cut vehicle weight to improve overall fuel economy,â€ť Reuters writes. (Read More…)
At 7 years old, the XK isn’t a kitten anymore – but with a rumored 3 years until the next redesign, whatâ€™s a luxury marque to do? Make special editions, of course. On the surface, the XKR-S looks like a baby-boomer dressed like a teenager, or as the Brits put it: mutton dressed as lamb.
Light-weight materials such as carbon-fiber, aluminum and magnesium are widely touted as key components of the drive towards greater fuel economy. Which explains why the automotive steel supplier industry is suddenly calling for an end to tailpipe emissions testing and a switch to the more holistic life cycle analysis testing.Â According toÂ a press release from WorldAutoSteel, an industry group, the production of steel alternatives can create up to 20 times the carbon emissions of steel.
Except for a lot of green talk, my German compatriots are not known for enthusiastically embracing the EV idea. Japan, even China is way ahead of them. Despite high gasoline costs (taxes, taxes), even hybrids are everything but runaway successes in the Fatherland. If Germans want to save, they buy a Diesel, or take the train. But even the train isnâ€™t the bargain it used to be. One car company bets big on Electric Vehicles. So big, that they built a whole new factory for them. You wonâ€™t believe who. (Read More…)
Producers of rolled steel and car manufacturers alike are casting a wary eye towards Japan. There, Toray Industries has developed technology, that, for the first time, allows carbon fiber to be used for mass produced auto bodies. According to The Nikkei [sub], Toray will start supplying Toyota and Fuji Heavy with carbon fiber for car bodies later this year. (Read More…)
Despite breaking new ground in the field of brand leverage with its Ferrari World Abu Dhabi theme park, Ferrari does seem to have lost the plot a bit in relation to its “other” business building expensive sportscars. Ferrari’s abandonment of the manual transmission might be justified by faster lap times at Fiorano, and the lightning-fast, dual-wet-clutch transmissions that replace them certainly seem to help keep the Scuderia at the bleeding edge of technology (even if they’re designed and built by Getrag). But underlying the faster times, higher speeds and “digital supercar” honorifics from the motoring press, there’s a sense that Ferrari’s progress must accommodate an ever-more ambitious business plan as much as design the world’s most capable and emotive sportscars. And it’s starting to bear some troubling fruit. (Read More…)
When I was a kid copywriter on the Volkswagen account, grumpy but thorough VW engineers drummed one tenet of green into me: You donâ€™t save gas with secret carburetors which the oil companies hide. You save by shedding weight. The less weight to push around, the less energy is needed to do the pushing. From the First Law of Thermodynamics to Einstein, all will agree. Like we agree on the need for a balanced diet. Then we go to the next Wendyâ€™s, and order a triple Whopper. Despite the wisdom, cars tend to gain heft over the years like an erstwhile skinny Italian bella ragazza after the age of 30.
With tougher environmental regulations spreading across the globe, and CO2 mutating into a climate-ogre from something that used to provide the fizz in a soda, automakers remember the old engineering rule: Less weight, less gas, less crud. (Read More…)