Nissan wants to go carbon-heavy making cars light
New production process cuts costs, time
Nissan says that it has a new way of making carbon fibre parts for vehicles that will let them use the lightweight material in more applications. That means lighter, safer, and more fuel-efficient vehicles and should help ride and handling, too.
They aren’t the only automaker that wants to put more CFRP parts into vehicles, but traditionally it’s been the preserve of high-end cars. Like McLaren bodywork or BMW roof panels. And of course the GT-R. That’s because it required expensive equipment like special looms and autoclaves, and parts that may not always turn out as expected.
The new process is called compression resin transfer moulding. Current manufacturing involves shaping the carbon fibre and then injecting a resin, with the company saying a stamp takes months and many dollars to make. Nissan’s new method simulates the flow of resin through the carbon fibres. They checked that using visualisations of the resin flow with sensors and transparent dies. They can make the new stamps more quickly and at less cost. They put the resin on the carbon and then press it into the part, which Nissan says is quicker and easier.
Since carbon fibre can shed half the weight of steel with the same strength, it can help make cars lighter. And that improves everything else, especially range when it comes to EVs. This could allow major structural components, like B-pillars, to be made from carbon fibre in the near future.