Detroit, Michigan – Lower-cost carbon fibre could potentially show up in volume use on GM vehicles. General Motors has teamed with carbon fibre and composites company Teijin Limited to co-develop advanced carbon fibre composite technologies.
The agreement involves the use of Teijin’s carbon fibre reinforced thermoplastic (CFRTP) technology, a faster and more efficient way to produce carbon fibre composites that could potentially be introduced on mainstream vehicles.
“Our relationship with Teijin provides the opportunity to revolutionize the way carbon fibre 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.”
Teijin will establish a technical centre in the northern U.S. early next year to support the relationship. Carbon fibre is ten times stronger than regular-grade steel but only one-quarter the weight, dramatically reducing vehicle weight. The result is more fuel-efficient but equally strong vehicles. Traditional carbon fibre-reinforced composites use thermosetting resins and take a long time to mould, reducing their usefulness in high-volume vehicles. Teijin’s technology has a moulding time of under a minute.