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Japan’s Toray, Nissan and Honda Plan to Commercialize Carbon Fiber Cars

Posted in Energy Solutions,Environmental Solutions by Howard Deutsch on July 24, 2008

Carbon Fiber Cars May Have a Major Impact on Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emissions and its Impact on Global Warming

On July 23, 2008 Thomson Financial News reported that Japan’s largest synthetic resin maker, Toray Industries Inc., together with Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. will jointly develop a new carbon fiber material for use in auto bodies, with the goal of developing mass-market carbon fiber cars.

The goal is to establish mass production technology for the new carbon fiber material by the mid-2010s. By replacing most of the steel used in cars, they aim to develop vehicles up to 40 percent lighter than their steel counterparts, it said.

Carbon fiber is about one-quarter the weight of iron, but is 10 times as strong. Today, steel accounts for three-quarters of the average car weight of around 3,000 pounds.

By replacing most of the steel used in key parts with carbon fiber, the weight can be reduced by up to 40 percent to approximately 1,800 pounds, helping improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent, or 0.7 ton, per car a year.

There was no mention of how much the new carbon fiber material will impact the cost of each new car, or how the cost of repairing carbon fiber cars, as a result of accidents, will be impacted.

If this innovative initiative is successful and the carbon fiber material can be used by other automobile manufacturers as well on a mass market basis, the impact on lowering oil consumption and global warming will be very significant.

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