The American automotive giant has yet to set a date for a launch of a production model built with carbon fiber.
A car that incorporates carbon fiber is the dream for every auto manufacturer's CEO. And there are plenty of good reasons for it. The technique has been applied to racing cars for the last 30 years and to production cars just as recently as McLaren's all-new MP4-12C supercar, which is priced at over $230,000. Although it's not your everyday means of transportation (despite the company's claims to the contrary), carbon fiber is still vital for those looking to cut weight.
In Germany, BMW and Volkswagen Group are fighting over the control of SGL Carbon Fiber, which will supply BMW carbon fiber components for the i3 electric car, due in 2013. And now General Motors is entering the fray with a cooperation agreement with Japanese firm Teijin Limited to develop light-weight materials that will replace the heavy weight steel. For GM, there are high expectations and unlimited ambitions with this project. "Our relationship with Teijin provides the opportunity to revolutionize the way carbon fiber is used in the automotive industry," said GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky.
"This technology holds the potential to be an industry game changer and demonstrates GM's long-standing commitment to innovation." According to GM, Teijin's proprietary breakthrough is its ability to mass-produce carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastic components with cycle times of under a minute, as opposed to longer timeframe that was needed in the application of previous manufacturing techniques. "Teijin's innovative CFRTP technology, which promises to realize revolutionarily lighter automotive body structures, will play an important role in GM's initiative to bring carbon fiber components into mainstream vehicles," said Norio Kamei.
The senior managing director of Teijin continued: "We believe our visionary relationship with GM will lead the way in increased usage of green composites in the automotive industry."