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Carbon Fiber will be mainstream in automobiles by 2025

Category: Industry News
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The trend of using carbon fiber and carbon fiber reinforced plastics in modern day super, sports and eco cars is not stopping anytime soon.  In fact with all the advancements in the carbon fiber composite industry and all the benefits the auto industry has seen with integrating carbon fiber composite materials into their cars, this trend has only begun.  Lux Research from Boston MA, recently published an article called,”Scaling Up Carbon Fiber: Roadmap to Automobile Adoption” stating that the use of carbon fiber and CFRP will soon be a widespread adoption for the car industry and will be mainstream by 2025.

There are already several advances under development in fiber, resin and composite part production that will lead to a $6 billion Automotive CFRP market in 2020. This figure is expected to increase substantially if CFRPs in automotive can become affordable enough for use in mainstream vehicles.

“Current trends strongly indicate significant mainstream automotive adoption of CFRPs in the mid-2020s, and companies throughout the value chain must position themselves to take advantage of the coming shifts,” says Anthony Vicari, Lux Research associate and lead author of the report. “However, long-term megatrends towards urbanization, connectivity and automation suggest that there could be a limited time window beyond that for penetrating the automotive space.” He also states that “CFRP developers will have to continue the pace of innovation to overcome the high cost that has so far limited the material to less price-sensitive markets like aerospace and sporting goods”.

Lux Research analyzed the technology development in CFRPs, and evaluated its economics to consider its impact on the automotive sector. This was among their findings:

  • Growing partnerships hasten development. The number of direct partnerships between carmakers or Tier 1 automotive suppliers and carbon fiber players has nearly doubled to 11 since 2012. Today, with partnerships with Plasan Carbon Composites and Magna, has formed the most new relationships and is a major hub.
  • Patent uptick suggests mid-2020 adoption. Using a predictive tool, Lux Research identified a lag of about 18 years between uptick of patent activity and attainment of mainstream commercial adoption milestones. With another major upturn in CFRP patent activity occurring in 2007, large-scale mainstream automotive use is likely by the mid-2020s.
  • Other manufacturing costs need to be cut. Carbon fiber itself, at $28/kg for standard modulus fiber, represents just 22% of the cost of a final CFRP part. Additional advances are needed to reduce capital, labor, energy, resin and processing costs, which together make up the remaining 78%.

2011-chevrolet-mi-ray-concept

If you have any further questions about the future of carbon fiber please email RW Carbon at info@rwcarbon.com

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