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GM, Teijin partner on steel alternative

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GM, Teijin partner on steel alternative

General Motors revealed an alliance with Japan's Teijin to co-develop advanced carbon fibre composite technology that the Detroit automaker hopes will make its cars and trucks lighter and more fuel-efficient, The Detroit News reports.

Supercar manufacturers such as Pagani and Bugatti are already using carbon fibre to make their high-end sports cars lighter and faster. Carbon fibre is 10 times stronger than steel, but only a quarter of the weight. However, it has been too difficult to mass produce and too expensive for mainstream use.

According to Automotive Speedtv, GM says Teijin is a world leader in composite technology, and its innovative carbon-fibre-reinforced thermoplastic technology could lead to more high-volume use of the material.

“Our relationship with Teijin provides the opportunity to revolutionise the way carbon fibre is used in the automotive industry,” said Steve Girsky, GM vice-chairman. “This technology holds the potential to be an industry game changer and demonstrates GM's long-standing commitment to innovation.”

Autonet.ca states that with more strict environmental and fuel economy standards coming into place in the near future, one of the ways automakers are looking at lowering fuel consumption is by reducing vehicle weights. Carbon fibre is not only lighter than high-tension steel or aluminum; it's also much stronger.

Teijin's CFRTP technology allows for cycle times of under minute, making its use on high-volume vehicles much more realistic.

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