BAC, Haydale and Pentaxia to explore graphene use in automotive industry

Production-readiness project will test graphene-enhanced composite body panel technology for potential larger-volume opportunities across the market.

Briggs Automotive Company (BAC, Liverpool, UK) has received funding to undertake research on graphene, with a view to pushing the technology towards production-readiness for the automotive industry.   

BAC, maker of the world’s only road-legal, single-seater supercar – the BAC Mono – received the Niche Vehicle Network (NVN) grant alongside Haydale Composite Solutions (Loughborough, UK) and Pentaxia Composites (Derby, UK) and will now further explore the benefits of using graphene in composite body panels. The company will be the test bed for the technology and potentially the catalyst for larger-volume opportunities across the market.

BAC became the first car manufacturer in the world to develop a graphene-paneled car in 2016, creating graphene-enhanced carbon fiber composite rear wheelarches for Mono. The new venture will build on that proof of concept.   

Graphene is made of sheets of carbon just one atom thick and is significantly lighter than standard carbon fiber. The NVN funding will enable BAC, Haydale and Pentaxia to develop lightweight composite materials using graphene and manufacture a novel carbon fiber composite tooling system with enhanced thermal conductivity – resulting in a new body panel system with improved mechanical and thermal performance.   

“We are delighted to have received this Niche Vehicle Network funding and are excited to get started on this production-readiness project with our partners Haydale and Pentaxia,” says Neill Briggs, co-founder and director of product development for BAC. “Niche vehicle manufacturers are of paramount importance in the automotive industry, acting as stepping stones for mass-market production technology – which is where we aim to place our graphene-enhanced composite body panels in the near future.”

The project aims to bring benefits in terms of weight reduction, CO2 emissions and manufacturing cycle times. Body panels will be installed and tested on the Mono supercar throughout the project, with the aim to reduce weight by 10% and cycles times by more than 25%.   

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