Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mass Produced Carbon Fiber Cars Down the Road [Automobiles]


Japanese textile maker Toray Industries is on the road to mass producing carbon fiber cars, bringing us ever closer to the day when the lightweight automobiles are on the market for more than just really rich racing enthusiasts. The company said it's developed a new carbon fiber processing method that molds auto platforms in 10 minutes. That's two and a half hours shorter than what current methods allow.

Toray's carbon fiber produces a platform that's 50 percent lighter than steel but 1.5 times safer in a collision, and the shorter molding process will allow it to make enough parts for roughly 30,000 vehicles a year. Though the ten minutes is still longer than the five or six needed for regular sheet metal and carbon fiber is still ten times more expensive to buy, Toray says the new method will cut manufacturing costs drastically.

So when can you look forward to buying a carbon fiber car that doesn't cost as much as your house? About four to five years, the company estimated. Well, I guess that gives you some time to save up. [Japan Today]