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Teijin Unveils Super-Lightweight Electric Concept Car

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Teijin Group materials and technologies used in the PU_PA EV. Click to enlarge.

The Teijin Group recently unveiled a super-lightweight electric concept car made with proprietary materials and technologies including carbon fiber composites, polycarbonate resins and bio-derived polyester. Weighing 437 kg, less than half that of conventional electric vehicles, the PU_PA EV (as in “pupa electric vehicle,” a reference to metamorphosis) embodies Teijin’s vision of what a vehicle will look like on the market in five to ten years.

Capable of 60 km/h (37 mph) and a cruising range of 100 km (62 miles), the PU_PA EV offers the functionality and structural integrity of a practical automobile. As a symbolic electric concept car, it features a number of proprietary advanced technologies:

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The PU_PA EV. Click to enlarge.

Weight Reduction. The body incorporates a core structure made of carbon fiber composite material. Windows made of polycarbonate resin with a heat absorbing function weigh only half as much as glass. Modularized parts are made with single-piece molding, etc., reducing total parts to about 20.

Biotechnology. Interior items (seats, floor mats, etc.) are made with bio-derived polyester.

Reduced Environmental Burden. Metal-toned TEFLEX PET film is used as an alternative to chrome plating. Low-noise tire cord is made with TEONEX polyethylene naphthalate (PEN) fiber.

Electronics. Multi-device communication using CELL FORM two-dimensional communication sheet.

The vehicle is being exhibited in the Teijin Mirai Studio, a showroom located in the same building as Teijin’s headquarters in Tokyo that presents the group’s materials and technologies.

Teijin will use its innovative concept car as a marketing tool to showcase the group’s environmentally responsive technologies and customer-oriented solutions.

The Teijin Group is cultivating markets and developing technologies in four strategic sectors: automobiles and aircraft, information and electronics, healthcare, and environment and energy. The Teijin Technology Innovation Center and the Teijin Composites Innovation Center were established in 2008 to pursue joint-development initiatives with customers. Along with the Plastics Technical Center, the facilities have enabled the Teijin Group to enhance its “customer lab” program of solution-oriented collaboration with customers.

The Mobility Business Project, a department overseen directly by the CEO, was established in April 2009 to support business expansion in the automobiles and aircraft sectors, focusing on the development of materials and technologies for lightweight, hybrid and electric vehicle designs.

Based in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan, Teijin is a global technology-driven group operating in five main fields: synthetic fibers (aramid fibers, carbon fibers and polyester fibers); films and plastics; pharmaceuticals and home health care; trading and retail; and IT and new products. The group had consolidated sales of US$10.5 billion (JPY 943.4 billion, USD 1=JPY 90) in fiscal 2008 and employs 19,453 people worldwide, with 169 companies around the world.

Comments

Will S

Seems effective as urban runabout. Yes, it is fairly light, though more visible and protected than a typical cyclist.

HarveyD

This is the right direction to go for future ultra light weight e-cars with smaller batteries and potentially longer e-range, lower initial and on-going operational cost.

An e-vehicle to drive to work and back does not have to weight 4 tonnes, accelerate to 100 Kph in 5 seconds or drive 200 Kph. A 500 Kg re-enforced plastics e-vehicle should be able to do that.

Larger e-units for 4 and 4+ persons don't have to weight 4 tonnes either. Well designed multi-passenger e-vehicles made of re-enforced plastics should also weight less than one tonne.

The transition from 4 tonne mechanical steel monsters to future ultra light weight e-vehicles will not be easy and have to combat acquired attitudes for the next 5 decades.

Zhukova

What happens in a 437 kg vehicle when you go over a speed bump, manhole cover, or pothole? People like me want a big car because the ride is smoother and quieter. I'd rather be in my 1.8 tonne Cougar than a PUPA if a car hits me from the rear while I'm waiting for a left turn light. What car weighs 4 tonnes?

Will S

Zhukova, you may or may not be in the US, though if you were, you'd understand that big cars are the Achilles Heel of energy dependency. Too many times, people have chosen heavier cars, then couldn't figure out why gas was so expensive or why we import so much oil now...(?!?)

Zhukova

I am in the US and I know how much oil we import. The cost of gas is influenced by demand. Demand is created by several things including the weight of the vehicle. But the principal reason for high energy cost is failure to do anything about human population growth. The same is true for greenhouse gas levels, loss of wildlife habitat, overfishing, and any number of world-wide problems. Now Harry Ried is about to get amnesty passed for millions of illegals which will result in another big surge in the population and energy demand.

We should be able to consume without guilt if it makes our lives better. However, the excessive human population makes this difficult, not big cars. Our goal in making green cars should not be to promote more population growth! For example, the Washington Metrorail system was promoted 35 years ago as a way to alleviate traffic problems. It did not do that, it accelerated population growth, and traffic, air and noise pollution, habitat loss, etc has tripled. By the way, I use public transportation every day and drive my Cougar V8 only 3,000 miles a year - that's a green lifestyle too.

HarveyD

Some Provinces in Canada pay ladies up to $10K bonus per baby + a $3K annual children allowance + free medical + 1+% immigration per year to ensure a larger population growth. The hidden agenda seems to be to change the current population diversity to stay in power + have more people to pay retirees pensions. Luckily, Canada has lots of elbow room and could sustain up to 5X the current population and even more with current climate changes. We drive smaller cars to compensate.

Some vehicles, like the fully equipped Hummer I weight more than 4 tons and very close to 5 tons with 4 or 5 overweight passengers. A 4 ton Hummer consumes 5 to 10 times as much energy than a regular size human. And electric train consumes 300 times less energy per passenger/mile than a Hummer I. It is a matter of choice between gas guzzlers and human population.

In reality, we do not need 4 ton passenger vehicles or 1/4 ton passengers or drivers. A 1000 lbs e-car could carry 4 regular size (175 lbs) passengers and consume 1/3 to 1/4 as much energy.

Zhukova

I used to have a VW Beetle. It weighed 1800 lbs. I can't imagine why I would want to ride in a 1000 lb car at 50 mph on any road. Rough ride, and wind and surface noise negate any energy savings.

Choosing to have more population growth is an ignorant choice considering all the problems it causes. The US gov't has plenty of incentives to have babies. Ensuring more workers to pay retirement for seniors is economically self-defeating in the long run. Do you want five times more people in Canada?

HarveyD

Zhukova:

In our modern democracies, politicians have mastered many ways to get (buy) votes to stay in power. The long term well being of the Nation is not considered as a worthwhile vote catching method. A new war, natural catastrophe, high oil prices and other negative happenings are used with better success with voters.

A very poor small nation overpopulated with 11+ million people on less than 1/2 a small island was hit by a huge earth quake lately. The world is providing $13+ billion to help them. In turn, they will produce 100% more babies and may have a population of close to 20 million within one or two decades. If they were half starving at 11 million, what will happen with 20+ million? Outside help will have to keep coming for ever. Free population control methods (to reduce the current population by at least 50%) would be a much better approach to their on-going problem but nobody dares saying it. We are afraid to talk about overpopulation problems and more so about the possible solutions. Nobody wants the hear the true reasons why so many nations are poor.

Zhukova

Unfortunately, you're right about everything. The chance that politicians will have a summit on population like the summit on global warming is very remote.

ToppaTom

I agree with these posts.

But, we might look at it this way. I need a license to drive or sell water, but 2 teenagers can make a baby in a parked car.

NOT IN THIS CAR.

Michael Cain

"NOT IN THIS CAR."

I think that you underestimate teenagers :^)

Will S

Zhukova wrote;

"We should be able to consume without guilt if it makes our lives better. "

To what level, though? Are big houses, big cars, big TVs, big waistlines making our lives better?

I can appreciate that you take mass transit, which means you either get it or you don't like rush hour. I can also appreciate that you drove a Beetle. I too now drive an 1800 lb car that's 10 years old (see if you can guess which it is).

The Washington Metro area likely did not grow to the levels it has because of Metro. There were many proposals to have more car lanes that were obviated by Metro. For example, Rt 66 inside the beltway would have been more lanes, but it is only 2 each way, HOV only during rush hours. The addition of Metro simply helps rush hour run more smoothly.

Zhukova

Actually I was a land surveyor in the 70s and rode on Metro on opening day in 1976. About 1975, the democratically controlled government imposed a sewer moratorium in northern VA to limit the out of control building of homes. The republicans took over with their slogan "Don't kill the goose that layed the golden egg." After that the developers had unprecedented power to build anything they wanted. Areas around Metro stations became prime targets for development. They argued that the metro was underused and that property was underdeveloped. They held the underfunded gov't hostage with the constant threat of massive lawsuits if their zoning requests were not approved. Republicans constantly demand lower taxes which limits the local governments ability to fight the lawsuits. The result is overpopulation and never-ending traffic increases.

ToppaTom

Most of us would probably not be able to see things that way without your help, maybe even with.
I can see them building golden eggs, or maybe geese; I can see them both.

I can imagine how difficult it would be to increase taxes back when the government admitted not only that they would raise taxes but what they were for.

"Support tax bill # 66, hire more government lawyers"; how naive we all were back then.

And to think they wanted to have people live near the Metro terminals so they could ride it - how quaint..

Today we know that rapid transit is not intended to make money, take you from where you are, or take to where you want to go.

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