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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
You Know You Want One
Your grip on the steering wheel tightens. Your eyes fixate on the yellow line. Your brain screams about the trees just beyond the shoulder. Wait for it… wait for it… ok, NOW! You pounce on the clutch as your right foot stabs the accelerator. A wrist-flick completes the downshift. Feather the brake, turn into the corner and scrub off some speed; the radius decreases slightly. You nail the apex, tires howling like a bloodhound on the trail. You roll back on the throttle for a speedy exit and dive into the next corner.
When it comes to automotive styling numerous design trends are popular today, but future vehicles are guaranteed to look very different. Functional styling elements will likely play a bigger role in exterior design, things like integrated air vents and spoilers. Naturally vehicle interiors will receive major updates as well, but arguably government regulations are the most important things driving change. Ever-increasing safety and fuel-economy standards are impacting automotive design in major ways.
Air and ground met at the horizon since day one, but now the two are gathering over over something else — carbon fiber.
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.
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]
Lamborghini is embarking on a pragmatic approach to supercar building with its Murcielago successor, known as the Jota. Rather than focus on top speed, the Jota will emphasize weight reduction, handling and acceleration prowess over brute force.
Lamborghini released a teaser today, showing what appear to be velocity stack openings for a possibly V10 engine. While the Murcielago had a V12, the downsize in power could be part of Lamborghini’s rhetoric discussing the importance of power-to-weight ratios and the incoming use of carbon fiber in their cars.
“From the middle of the Eighties, the average weight of our cars has increased by 500 kg because of active and passive safety, comfort and emissions reduction issues, and this is something that we have to change,” the release stated, in a refreshingly honest critique of modern supercars.
The Jota is expected to debut at this years Paris Auto Show, and Autoguide will be on hand to cover the launch.
Hit the jump to see the official press release