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An 'Industry Leader' Comments on What's New in Automotive from NAIAS Going Forward

SpecialChem / Mar 29, 2010

Dr. David Cole is the Chairman of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor Michigan. The Center for Automotive Research (CAR) is a nonprofit organization and is focused on a wide variety of important trends and changes related to the automobile industry and society, at the international, federal, state and local levels. It conducts industry research, develops new methodologies, forecasts industry trends, advises on public policy, and sponsors multi-stakeholder communication forums. A number of carmakers introduced hybrid and all-electric vehicles at this year's North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), including the small electric cars that were on display in the auto show's Electric Avenue area. The industry seems to be plunging right into a new electric world, but it has to be kept in mind that the standard internal combustion engine is not going away any time soon. In fact, it is foreseen that all-electric vehicles will remain nothing more than a niche product for the foreseeable future with hybrids and electric vehicles making up just 10% of the market by 2020. Of the many composite materials, no class of composites can touch the properties of carbon fiber reinforced plastic composites in terms of light weighting opportunities and crash worthiness. The SuperlightCar (SLC), a collaborative R&D project co-funded by the EC involving Volkswagen, Fiat Research Center, Opel, Renault, Volvo Technology Center, Porsche and Daimler was recently concluded. Its objective was development of an innovative multi-material lightweight design for vehicle structures to achieve a 30% weight reduction, multi-material manufacturability, and maximum recyclability/sustainability.

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