General Motors (Detroit, Mich.) announced at the Automotive Composites Conference and Exhibition (ACCE, Troy, Mich.) last week that it plans to globalize and transform its vehicle design and production strategy include plans to investigate greater use of carbon fiber.
GM currently uses carbon-fiber composites in only one production vehicle, the Corvette Z06. The Z06 has a carbon fiber hood, front fender, wheel house and passenger compartment floor. “Carbon fiber is absolutely great but absolutely too expensive,” says Matt Tsien, GM executive director, global technology engineering.
In order to enhance the use of carbon fiber on future vehicle, GM has launched a project to drive down the cost. The main features of the project include converting completely to industrial grade carbon fiber, from the company’s current 60-40 split between industrial and aerospace grade. GM is also working with a Tier 2 supplier in the development of new types of prepreg materials, according to Tsien.