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Toray To Supply Toyota and Fuji Heavy With Carbon Fiber For Auto Bodies

Nikkei. Toray Industries Inc. will start supplying Toyota Motor Corp. (TMC) and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI) with carbon fiber for car bodies later this year—the first use of carbon fiber for auto bodies mass-produced in Japan.

Toyota reportedly will use carbon fiber for the hood and roof of the Lexus LFA, a luxury sports car to be produced starting in December. Fuji Heavy will sell roofs made from carbon fiber as an optional item for its standard-class sports car.

Such uses of carbon fiber became possible as a result of Toray’s new production technology, which halves costs for dies. Carbon fiber costs are more than 20 times higher than those of steel, but the technology is expected to narrow the gap to about five times.

The rise of steel prices has also helped narrow the cost difference. And more use of carbon fiber in car bodies would increase its production, likely to further reduce costs. Greater use of carbon fiber in car bodies is expected to create 30,000 tons worth of demand per yea—equivalent to all the demand for carbon fiber at present.

Comments

HarveyD

It doesn't make much sense to drive around in a 4000+ lbs car. Something like 2000 lbs should be more than enough to transport 1 to 4 (normal size people i.e. 2 x 120 lbs + 2 x 160 lbs = up to 560 lbs) around. Jumbos could travel 2 to a car instead of 4. Super jumbos could travel alone or in specialized heavy duty vehicles.

Light weight padded plastics, carbon fibers and aluminium could be used for a safe 2000 lbs mid size car.

Yearly Fed. registration fees could rise more quickly with vehicle weight. Something like:

- $0.025/lb up to 1000 lbs. (a 1000 lbs car would pay only $25)
+ $0.25/lb between 1000 to 2000 lbs
+ $0.50/lb between 2000 and 3000 lbs
+ $1.00/lb between 3000 and 4000 lbs
+ $2.00/lb for weight above 4000 lbs.

ould promote the use of lighter vehicles.

danm

Sorry to see another technology slip away from the U.S. These developments should have happened here since U.S. had big lead. Congratulations to Japan for once again showing the way. They deserve the huge benefits they will reap from this.

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