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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)

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yep

A so long as it's well engineered carbon fiber can be lighter, cheaper, safer, more efficient, and longer lasting. Think of a car body that won't rust, warp, or dent. and if you manage to punch a hole through the carbon fiber, fairly difficult w/o doing some major structural damage to the car, you can fix it easily with resin and fiberglass, or carbon fiber cloth.

I was watching a program on future car tech about 6 months ago and there was a company that had actually figured out how to cheaply make a CF car with basically the whole structural part of the car made on 4 separate molds that can simply be epoxied together and were light enough to assemble by hand. The whole basic frame of the car weighed about 150-200lbs assembled. To demonstrate the strength of the panels they had a demo panel of the floorboard that they set on the ground and had the interviewer try and break with a 10lb sledge. Needless to say all he managed to do was scratch the finish.

They claimed at the time that it was actually cheaper than steel, but the automakers wouldn't adopt it for fear of change and the expense of retooling their plants for a new material.
 

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This is the idea behind the Hyper Car invented by Amory Lovins and his buddies at the Rocky Mountain Institute. They started a company to figure out a way to mass produce these carbon fiber parts and are moving along quite nicely. The company is called FiberForge:

http://www.fiberforge.com/

You can also search Amory Lovins on YouTube for many interesting interviews. This guy is very sharp.

I also believe that Ford is working hard on this. Their new CEO, Alan Mulally, came from Boeing where he helped bring out the 787 Dreamliner. That new plan is made with huge amounts of carbon fiber. Now that Ford is in deep financial duress I wonder what is going to happen.
 

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I was watching a program on future car tech about 6 months ago and there was a company that had actually figured out how to cheaply make a CF car with basically the whole structural part of the car made on 4 separate molds that can simply be epoxied together and were light enough to assemble by hand. The whole basic frame of the car weighed about 150-200lbs assembled. To demonstrate the strength of the panels they had a demo panel of the floorboard that they set on the ground and had the interviewer try and break with a 10lb sledge. Needless to say all he managed to do was scratch the finish.
I saw that within the last 2 weeks. Click and Clack were on it, except when they went to Colorado to do the part you mentioned above, only one of them was there.

I think the writeup is here:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/teachers/programs/3507_car.html

looks at the Hypercar, a vehicle made of lightweight but strong composite carbon fiber

And here is it's website:
http://www.rmi.org/sitepages/pid191.php
 

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Its unfortunate GM is not the leader on carbon fiber, this is only one of a half dozen companies wanting mass production leveles (and low cost) fiber to become standard over steel. With proper methods carbon fiber can cost under half what steel bodied does today, but standardization needs to reach model T-levels, if they follow a platform model, cookie cutter "trimable" doors, hoods and roofs they may be able to achieve this while maintaining a variety of different looking models made from roughly the same components.

Really we are 40 years behind where we need to be in terms of aero and weight, lately we have gone backwards a bit in terms of weight and aero.
 
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