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Jamesc2123
Jamesc2123 Reader
4/13/12 10:12 a.m.

Is inexpensive mass-produced carbon fiber. We keep hearing how its being worked on but still juuuuust out of reach, but here's hoping its just a little bit closer.

http://www.autoblog.com/2012/04/13/ford-dow-chemical-partner-on-carbon-fiber-composites-hope-to-s/

Ford is working with Dow Chemical to be the first one to crack the egg. They say they're looking to cut up to 750 pounds from their vehicles. Obviously that's more like 750 off an Explorer than a Fiesta ), but its just plain exciting to think about your average car losing weight and covered in carbon fiber....They say its a bad time to be a car guy...

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson Dork
4/13/12 10:15 a.m.

I thought this was the ultimate in weight reduction! CF is cool, but in reality I see more imidiate progress from increased aluminium content as well as modern high strength steel that allows thinner panels. I think CF will make it's first mass market impact on non structural external panels

Jamesc2123
Jamesc2123 Reader
4/13/12 10:24 a.m.

That's just the inevitable in weight reduction...

You're right that aluminum and HSS will come first, but its nice to know that lightweight vehicles are back as a priority for OEMs. And we have those evil CAFE standards to thank for that < /Trollface >

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson Dork
4/13/12 10:42 a.m.

Yup, those bastards in Washington keep ruining cars for us. HAve they been forgiven for implementing tighter emissions standards which accelerated the engine and fuelinjection development leading to the amazing HP race we have today yet

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker UltimaDork
4/13/12 10:46 a.m.
Adrian_Thompson wrote: I thought this was the ultimate in weight reduction! CF is cool, but in reality I see more imidiate progress from increased aluminium content as well as modern high strength steel that allows thinner panels. I think CF will make it's first mass market impact on non structural external panels

There are some cool hybrid aluminum/plastic materials that could be used as well with different design and bonding techniques than are typical. I guess it requires re-tooling, re-training, etc but if weight loss is a REAL priority we should see some really innovative uses coming down the pike.

Xceler8x
Xceler8x UltraDork
4/13/12 1:10 p.m.
Adrian_Thompson wrote: Yup, those bastards in Washington keep ruining cars for us. HAve they been forgiven for implementing tighter emissions standards which accelerated the engine and fuelinjection development leading to the amazing HP race we have today yet

Now you've done it. We all know any kind of regulation is bad because...well....just look around..but not in Bhopal. Corporations have money and should be able to do anything they want with it. They only have our collective best interest in mind!

~~~~~

On topic. I'd love to see more CF in production cars. Quite likely the one way we can have acceptable crash standards AND light weight. I'd love to see this.

Gearheadotaku
Gearheadotaku SuperDork
4/13/12 2:15 p.m.

On topic, yes , more carbon fiber and HSS is great for reducing weight.

off topic: Can we start reducing prices?

I give credit to the to the EPA for very expensive cars that are hard to work on, have laggy throttle by wire systems, and to NHTSA for making them heavy and ugly. Tech peaked in the mid 90's as far as easy to use and bang-for -the buck.

Get off my lawn.

(I'm under 40).

alfadriver
alfadriver UberDork
4/13/12 2:31 p.m.

In reply to Gearheadotaku:

Adjusted for inflation, car prices are lower.

And in some cases, not adjusted for inflation, as well- compare a base 5 speed 2 ($14,530) or Fiesta ($13,200) to a 1991 Civic Si ($11,405)- for almost the same price, the 2 and Fiesta are cleaner, more powerful, faster, safer, and have a ton more content.

It's amazing how little the cost has changed in 20 years for some vehicle lines, especially if you take into account what has changed.

NGTD
NGTD Dork
4/13/12 2:48 p.m.
alfadriver wrote: In reply to Gearheadotaku: Adjusted for inflation, car prices are lower. And in some cases, not adjusted for inflation, as well- compare a base 5 speed 2 ($14,530) or Fiesta ($13,200) to a 1991 Civic Si ($11,405)- for almost the same price, the 2 and Fiesta are cleaner, more powerful, faster, safer, and have a ton more content. It's amazing how little the cost has changed in 20 years for some vehicle lines, especially if you take into account what has changed.

A former co-worker of mine told me that that in the early 70's he made about $5000 a year and a car cost about a year's salary. At the time of the conversation (10 years ago), he said that a nice car actually cost less that his year's salary.

I would agree with you that adjusted for inflation, that car's are actually cheaper.

tuna55
tuna55 UltraDork
4/13/12 2:51 p.m.
alfadriver wrote: In reply to Gearheadotaku: Adjusted for inflation, car prices are lower. And in some cases, not adjusted for inflation, as well- compare a base 5 speed 2 ($14,530) or Fiesta ($13,200) to a 1991 Civic Si ($11,405)- for almost the same price, the 2 and Fiesta are cleaner, more powerful, faster, safer, and have a ton more content. It's amazing how little the cost has changed in 20 years for some vehicle lines, especially if you take into account what has changed.

This is true. We can debate CAFE or NHTSA all day long, but they are cheaper, better running, safer, more reliable, more fuel efficient and certainly cleaner as well.

Some say 'in spite of' regulation, some say 'because of' regulations. Doesn't matter for this thread - no floundering. It's interesting to see CF do well, because I suspect it will always be cheaper and easier to stamp stuff out of aluminum and steel (saw them stamp MDX bodies, just one side, like one every 15 seconds), and I am honestly not sure what the weight savings is for some of those bigger sheet steel pieces.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic UltimaDork
4/13/12 3:09 p.m.
alfadriver wrote: In reply to Gearheadotaku: Adjusted for inflation, car prices are lower. And in some cases, not adjusted for inflation, as well- compare a base 5 speed 2 ($14,530) or Fiesta ($13,200) to a 1991 Civic Si ($11,405)- for almost the same price, the 2 and Fiesta are cleaner, more powerful, faster, safer, and have a ton more content.

And not as fun to drive.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic UltimaDork
4/13/12 3:11 p.m.

I am excited about the idea of more carbon fiber. Hopefully that will also drive the price of raw carbon fiber weave down so I can make lots of cool things with it.

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
4/13/12 3:22 p.m.

sounds like a win/win situation to me

ShadowSix
ShadowSix Reader
4/13/12 3:37 p.m.
Gearheadotaku wrote: On topic, yes , more carbon fiber and HSS is great for reducing weight. off topic: Can we start reducing prices? I give credit to the to the EPA for very expensive cars that are hard to work on, have laggy throttle by wire systems, and to NHTSA for making them heavy and ugly. Tech peaked in the mid 90's as far as easy to use and bang-for -the buck. Get off my lawn. (I'm under 40).

Everybody thinks the best cars were when they started driving. I'm sure there is a 52 yr. old out there somewhere that swears the Mustang II was the greatest car ever made.

I also got my license in the '90's, and I am partial to a lot of cars from that era, but a new Accord can do 0-60 in the same time an Acura NSX did. And as far as hard to work on, the worst cars to do anything in the engine bay are those 80's and 90's cars with 10,000 vacuum lines, I don't know why, but modern cars just don't have all that anymore.

ultraclyde
ultraclyde Dork
4/13/12 3:52 p.m.

I definitely think we're seeing the best cars yet right now, and I started driving in the early nineties. All the stuff that was actually available for purchase from the late 80's were anemic E36 M3boxes. Now you can buy a 5L Mustang that makes over 400hp, routes any stock muscle car from the 60's in the 1/4 mile, gets as goos a gas mileage on the highway as an air-cooled VW bug, and can handle better than a stock e30. And it costs a little less than the "average" salary in the US. Agreed, it does weigh almost 4k pounds, but if it's still capable of all that - why does it matter?

I know lighter is better and will only improve all those figures, so back on the OT:

Cheaper carbon fiber is good all the way around for a bunch of industries. Bicycles anyone? Boats? Golf Clubs?

alfadriver
alfadriver UberDork
4/13/12 4:25 p.m.

re- mass produced carbon fiber....

Seems surprising that it's taken this long to get a major project going to mass produce CF at a reasonable cost. But I think this is just an announcment. All the people I've met in CF fully know that the grail of the equivallent to stamping steel will make them TONS of money. And that was a long time ago.

Conquest351
Conquest351 Dork
4/13/12 4:27 p.m.

I don't know exactly what they're going to be doing with CF though. It definitely won't be nice clean grid-like CF panels we'd all like to see. Lamborghini and Callaway Golf Company have been playing with forged composites, and the Lamborghini Sesto Elemento is the concept of that technology. What I'm betting we'll see more of is more carbon fiber reinforced plastics. Take a look at who's pairing up here... Ford & Dow. I work for a Ford dealership and I see a LOT of plastic parts on cars. If they can start making the metal stuff go away in favor of carbon fiber reinforced plastic parts, they'll be shedding the hundreds of pounds they're claiming in this article. We'll have to see what they do when it all comes out... I'd like to see more of the pretty carbon fiber panels, but I highly doubt that'll be what happens.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic UltimaDork
4/13/12 4:41 p.m.
ShadowSix wrote:
Gearheadotaku wrote: On topic, yes , more carbon fiber and HSS is great for reducing weight. off topic: Can we start reducing prices? I give credit to the to the EPA for very expensive cars that are hard to work on, have laggy throttle by wire systems, and to NHTSA for making them heavy and ugly. Tech peaked in the mid 90's as far as easy to use and bang-for -the buck. Get off my lawn. (I'm under 40).
Everybody thinks the best cars were when they started driving. I'm sure there is a 52 yr. old out there somewhere that swears the Mustang II was the greatest car ever made.

That isn't true. I got my license 6 years ago and I think the best cars were made in the '60s and early '70s. Everything else has been on a steady downward spiral since then with a few bright spots here and there.

Knurled
Knurled Dork
4/13/12 4:55 p.m.
Adrian_Thompson wrote: I thought this was the ultimate in weight reduction!

Rust adds weight. You're carrying captured oxygen.

/buzzkill

mazdeuce
mazdeuce Reader
4/13/12 5:07 p.m.

The surviving cars from any era cloud our judgement. The 60's were great, except for the junk that nobody loved enough to save. Sure, there may have been a slightly higher percentage of cars worth saving, but just like today, most people buy crap, then they sell it, then it gets neglected, and then it dies. The fact than anyone looks fondly on any cars of the 80's tells us all we need to know. Cars today are fantastic, powerful, reliable, and comfortable in ways that couldn't be touched in the past. Look at the late 60's pro touring cars. $50k in modern components make them so much better by every metric.

kreb
kreb SuperDork
4/13/12 5:22 p.m.
I got my license 6 years ago and I think the best cars were made in the '60s and early '70s. Everything else has been on a steady downward spiral since then with a few bright spots here and there.

I consider the 60s the begining of the modern era of cars. Unibody became the norm. Sizes and proportions are very similar to current cars, and styling fits well with modern sensibilities. That said, they were mainly pigs. Most foreign cars had no power, and American cars generally couldn't handle or stop worth a damn.

IMO modern cars rule. Older cars are often stylish, and easier to work on. In all other ways we're better off now - value, reliability, safety, handling, economy, ergonomics, power - these things are objectively much improved. Personally I think that with a small handfull of exceptions, modern cars are more interesting looking as well.

But we live in the age of bitching. We look at flowers and see only the pollen.

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
4/13/12 5:53 p.m.
ultraclyde wrote: Cheaper carbon fiber is good all the way around for a bunch of industries. Bicycles anyone? Boats? Golf Clubs?

I have a C/F mountain bike.. it's 10 years old and made by Trek

ransom
ransom Dork
4/13/12 6:00 p.m.

In reply to Conquest351:

I think that you're right that what we'll be looking at is more like injection-molded CF-reinforced plastic and not the pretty laid-up woven CF.

And while the latter is pretty, my favorite thing about it is its function. If it makes it cheaper and more available, the aesthetic aspect is the first thing I'll happily wave goodbye to.

Besides, as someone pointed out to me earlier today, one starts to develop a negative reaction to the look of the woven stuff just because it's become a modern day-glo windshield wiper or Yosemite Sam mud flap, at least in faux form...

93EXCivic
93EXCivic UltimaDork
4/13/12 6:14 p.m.
kreb wrote:
I got my license 6 years ago and I think the best cars were made in the '60s and early '70s. Everything else has been on a steady downward spiral since then with a few bright spots here and there.
I consider the 60s the begining of the modern era of cars. Unibody became the norm. Sizes and proportions are very similar to current cars, and styling fits well with modern sensibilities. That said, they were mainly pigs. Most foreign cars had no power, and American cars generally couldn't handle or stop worth a damn. IMO modern cars rule. Older cars are often stylish, and easier to work on. In all other ways we're better off now - value, reliability, safety, handling, economy, ergonomics, power - these things are objectively much improved. Personally I think that with a small handfull of exceptions, modern cars are more interesting looking as well. But we live in the age of bitching. We look at flowers and see only the pollen.

I disagree about the ergonomics. That is exactly why I don't like modern cars. They feel uncomfortable and cheaply made. And yes they made be more reliable but when they go wrong they are a bitch and a half to repair.

In all honesty, I think the cars of the '90s are the best daily drivers because they don't have so many electronics (minus luxury cars) I can't repair them, they are reliable and don't have the electronic throttle and crappy ergonomics of modern cars.

I still think old cars are the most fun though. And to me that is the most important thing is fun not the 0-60 times. I just want to have a big smile on my face.

J308
J308 Reader
4/13/12 7:00 p.m.

And by the time CF makes it's way to production, cars will be heavier.

A 3850 lb Mustang will then be 4650 lbs, and a 750 lb reduction will put it at:
3900 lbs.

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