Evolving Automotive Composites Technology Making Vehicles Lighter, Safer, and More Fuel Efficient

Automotive Industry Embraces Composites

Swiftly evolving automotive composite technologies are central to the production of stronger yet lighter auto components that reduce the overall weight of cars. These materials are made from resins melded with reinforcing fibers and enables automobile manufacturers to improve cars fuel efficiency. This achievement is vital to fulfilling the industry’s objective of slashing C02 emission levels from the current 135 g/km to 95. This demonstrates the Driving Well-Being philosophy, as the development and use of automotive composites is in a proper manner, which will also benefit companies, drivers, and the environment at once.

The Advantages of Automotive Composites

In the manufacturing industry, automotive composites materials have big advantages as compared to steel. Automotive composites are being considered to make lighter, safer and more fuel-efficient vehicles. These composites when combined provide enhanced properties compared with the individual materials by themselves as automotive composites are composed of a high-performance fiber in a matrix material. Carbon-fiber automotive composites weigh about one-fifth as much as steel but are as good or better in terms of stiffness and strength. These composites could significantly increase vehicle fuel economy by reducing vehicle weight by as much as 60 percent. The advantage carbon fiber automotive composites is that they do not rust or corrode like steel or aluminum.

Automotive composite materials have excellent energy-absorbing capability per mass and with these materials, high strength-to-weight, as well as stiffness-to-weight ratios, is obtained. The reason why steel is the material choice of today is that it is strong and inexpensive. But automotive composites can be designed to be strong and light to provide better safety and fuel efficiency. The strength and stiffness are the two major factors which is why automotive composites are currently used in aerospace applications.


Sandwich composites are considered as one of the most special classes of automotive composites structure. These composites are made by attaching two thin composite face sheets to a thick, foam or low-density core of balsa wood. For automotive floor and roof applications, sandwich composites are of the chief interest. Crashworthiness is a natural extension of damage tolerance. Automotive composites can meet or even exceed safety requirements in a crash with a proper design. They can be designed to absorb markedly more energy than traditional metallic metals when crushed. Metals absorb energy in a crush by yielding, whereas automotive composites typically crush in a more brittle manner. Therefore, the materials have to be designed to fail in a controlled manner.

Lowering the Costs for Automotive Composites

Affordability is an important aspect in vehicle manufacturing includes factoring in the costs associated with a car’s complete life-cycle. The issue with today’s automotive composites is that they have been developed for aerospace applications where cost is not as critical.

Carbon fiber automotive composites are becoming competitive and cost-effective compared to metals. At the current rate, carbon fiber automotive components are costlier compared to metal components. Many advances in raw materials, manufacturing technologies, assembly techniques, are influencing directly the cost of automotive composites, design, and development. While the advanced technology will help to reduce the cost of composites substantially, the demand for automotive composites will rise exponentially in coming years. With reducing the engineering the cycle time, automotive composite designs, analysis, and manufacturing tools will also help to reduce the cost and increase the quality of parts being manufactured.

For insights on the latest automotive composite market forecast for the next few years, stay tuned to – here.

About the Author

Nikhil Kaitwade

With over 8 years of experience in market research and consulting industry, Nikhil has worked on more than 250 research assignments pertaining to chemicals, materials and energy sector. He has worked directly with about 35 reputed companies as lead consultant for plant expansion, product positioning, capacity factor analysis, new market/segment exploration, export market opportunity evaluation and sourcing strategies.

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