An even more extreme supercar is on the way from Swedish supercar maker Koenigsegg with a knee-knocking power to weight ratio from which its name is derived.
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Days after the car first debuted, Lamborghini announced how much American buyers will pay for its Aventador LP700-4 Roadster: $441,600.
The sprawling Volkswagen Empire is in the process of consolidating its vehicle architectures. To help quell the industrial chaos Porsche was put in charge of sports-car development, but now it’s reported the next-generation Audi R8 will not share Zuffenhausen’s latest architecture.
If you don’t think sculpting clay models can be cool, think again.
Carbon fiber, typically used in race cars and high-end sports cars, is now making its way on conventional vehicles as automakers find a more efficient way in cutting costs on the lightweight material.
From in-car technology to turbocharging, there is perhaps no other trend that’s fundamentally changing new cars more than the move to dramatically reduce the weight of modern vehicles.
Already several years into a switch to more efficient EcoBoost engines, the next big move for the Ford Motor Company in the fight to reach increasingly strict fuel economy targets is to significantly reduce the weight of its vehicles.
To help meet those goals the American automaker has today announced a partnership with Dow Automotive Systems to develop low cost, light weight carbon fiber vehicle components.
The goal, says Ford, is to help shed as much as 750 pounds per vehicle by the end of the decade. While carbon fiber is used by a few smaller automakers or in limited production vehicles, Ford’s plan is to integrate the light-weight yet ultra-strong material into its mainstream volume products.
“There are two ways to reduce energy use in vehicles: improving the conversion efficiency of fuels to motion and reducing the amount of work that powertrains need to do,” said Paul Mascarenas, Ford chief technical officer and VP of Research and Innovation. “Ford is tackling the conversion problem primarily through downsizing engines with EcoBoost and electrification while mass reduction and improved aerodynamics are keys to reducing the workload.”
Reducing weight, says Florian Schattenmann, head of R&D for Dow Automotive Systems, is, “particularly critical to improving the range of plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles.”
Ford and Dow will work together to create an affordable way to source carbon fiber as well as a low cost method to integrate it into volume vehicles.
If successful, the use of carbon fiber components on volume cars like the Focus, Fusion and Mustang could happen by the end of the decade.
Aston Martin will return this year to the FIA World Endurance Championship to compete in the eight round series, kicking off with the 60th anniversary edition of the 12 Hours of Sebring, on March 17.
The company confirmed today that it will enter an updated version of the Vantage GT2, calling it the Vantage GTE. That car will be based off the Vantage road car, getting the same bonded aluminum structure with and aerospace specification steel roll cage. All but the roof will be made from carbon fiber to shed weight. A 4.5-litre V8 with an aluminum block and will keep the street-legal Vantage’s double-wishbone suspension, but with purpose-built components.
The driver line-up has also been confirmed: Darren Turner, Stefan Mücke and Adrian Fernandez will compose the team.
“I’m excited about this program as it’s our opportunity to take Aston Martin back to the top of the world of GT racing. The Vantage GTE is a great car; she’s coming along nicely now and we’re ready to take on what we expect will be tough competition,” Turner said.
“The FIA World Endurance Championship calendar looks good to me, especially as I’ve already won in an Aston Martin at half of the tracks: Sebring, Silverstone, Interlagos and of course at Le Mans. We are going to Sebring next month with a brand new car, but that’s exactly what we did with the DBR9 back in 2005 and we won that race. I’m not promising we can repeat that but we’ll certainly try.”
GALLERY: 2012 Aston Martin Vantage GTE
Used to aid performance and improve efficiency through reduced weight, carbon fiber is increasingly finding its way into modern vehicles. Holding back a more mainstream adoption of the high-tech material is its price.
It should come as little surprise then that BMW isn’t too concerned, especially when it comes to spendy luxury barges like the BMW 7 Series. That said, it’s even less of a surprise that the German automaker has now confirmed carbon fiber elements will make an appearance on the next-generation of its flagship sedan.
In an interview, BMW R&D boss Klaus Draeger commented that following the extensive use of carbon fiber in the i3 and i8 models, the 7 Series will be the first “mainstream” Bimmer to use weave. Previously, only exotic M models, like the all-new 2013 M6, saw the use of carbon fiber components; used for the roof in this circumstance.
While no confirmation has been given, look for the roof, hood and trunk lid to be made of carbon fiber, when the next 7 Series arrives some time around 2015.
General Motors is taking steps to make carbon fiber a major component in their future production vehicles by working with Teijin Ltd. of Japan.
Carbon fiber is a labor-intensive product, meaning it is expensive to implement in production vehicles. That expense generally restricts its use to low-production models like the Chevrolet Corvette Z06. That will all change in the future thanks to a new process that allows Teijiin to make carbon fiber products much faster than previously possible.
“Our relationship with Teijin provides the opportunity to revolutionize the way carbon fiber is used in the automotive industry,” GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky said in a statement. “This technology holds the potential to be an industry game changer and demonstrates GM’s long-standing commitment to innovation.”
Teijin’s new technology uses thermoplastic material to allow carbon fiber parts to be molded in less than a minute instead of the traditional method, thermoset, that takes ten minutes or more per piece.
“It’s easier to handle and quicker to mold,” Jim Hentschel, GM’s executive director for body and exterior, said in an interview. “That’s what allows us to be able to introduce this technology into more mainstream, high-volume vehicles.”
Carbon fiber is stronger and ligher than aluminum and steel, making it a valuable asset for GM as it tries to increase fuel efficiency in new models.
The specifics behind the deal aren’t available yet, but neither company is exchanging equity in the process. Teijin will, however, be opening a U.S. techincal center to handle their business with GM.
[Source: Automotive News]
Porsche‘s new supercar, targeted squarely at the Ferrari 458, might be borrowing its underpinnings from the next-gen Audi R8.
The German sports car manufacturer is already well on its way to developing the part-carbon fiber car, though what they have so far borrows heavily from Audi. It’s not something Porsche is happy about, but Volkswagen, their parent company, sees sharing the underpinnings of the R8 and Lamborghini Gallardo as an easy way to save costs.
Despite corporate orders preference, Porsche may actually delay releasing its car until the 2020s in order to build it with a bespoke chassis. If they decide to adopt the R8 chassis, it would mean their new car could be on the market next to the second generation R8, versus hitting the market beside the third generation with custom underpinning.