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CAFE 2025: Automakers' Challenge, Plastics Opportunity

SpecialChem / Michel Biron – Nov 6, 2013

The NHTSA has recently set standards to increase the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) levels rapidly over the next several years.

Fuel consumption comes from the energy needed for: The motion of the mass of the vehicle, Air resistance and Miscellaneous mechanical resistances and production of electricity.

A wide range of technologies are currently available for automakers to meet the new standards, including: vehicle weight reduction, advanced engines and transmissions, diesel engines, improvements in aerodynamics, enhanced design, lower tire rolling resistance and more efficient accessories including air conditioning systems.

In this context, plastics and composites offer many advantages including design freedom, light weight, class A finish, function integration, corrosion resistance, inherent damping properties, reduced tooling cost for mass reduction and production of complex devices leading to aerodynamic drag and noise reduction.

Composites are smart solutions for mass reduction but lead to higher costs. Carbon fiber reinforced composites are ultimate plastics solutions from a technical point of view but are the most expensive and are not suitable for mass production such as automotive. Effective weight reduction...

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