GM to Increase Fuel Efficiency of Cars and Trucks with Carbon Fiber

High performance race cars have been built using carbon fiber for years. It adds strength to the structure of the vehicle while bringing down the total weight. This allows the car to get the most speed from the available horse power. That’s great for race car drivers, but what if your own car could be built from carbon fiber?

Cheaper Carbon Fiber

General Motors is looking to do just that. The company announced this month that they are partnering with Teijin Limited, a Japanese based company that specializes in carbon fiber development. Teijin has created a new molding process for carbon fiber that allows them to mold carbon fiber pieces in a fifth of the time of standard processes. The quicker molding times brings the costs of carbon fiber usage down, so much so that it is now feasible to use in mainstream automobiles.

From high-end to low-end

GM plans to use carbon fiber in everything from Corvettes to crossovers and even pickup trucks. It won’t just be the luxury car owners who benefit. The new partnership will allow even low-end models to have carbon fiber parts. Carbon fiber is 10 times stronger than the steel normally used in auto production, but it weighs only a quarter as much. You don’t have to scratch your head over how that could be beneficial to both car makers and car owners and drivers. Using carbon fiber parts will lower the overall weight of your car, which in turn will mean better gas mileage, and the strength of the carbon fiber will mean that parts last longer.

New Industry, New Jobs

Teijin plans to build a new processing plant in the northern U.S. in 2012, which in turn will create new jobs in the U.S. auto market. New industry nearly always breeds job growth. Along with the abundance of auto jobs created over the last few years, the new carbon fiber jobs created will be a bonus to the U.S. economy. The new industry will need suppliers, which may create even more jobs. New plant workers will likely spend their wages locally, which will spur more growth in U.S. businesses.

GM Leads, Others Will Follow

GM is leading the pack with carbon fiber, but no doubt other auto makers will follow. Within a few years carbon fiber usage will be common across the auto industry and most new car owners will benefit. The added bonus of new jobs will help to lower American unemployment, creating new revenue flow to local businesses, and in some small way contributing to the economic recovery of America.

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