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Ford's carbon fiber hood prototype   (Source: Ford Motor Company)
The new carbon fiber hood prototype weighs more than 50 percent less than the standard steel versions, yet is five times as strong as steel

Ford is looking to make its vehicles even more fuel efficient with a new prototype carbon fiber hood that weighs less than traditional versions. 
The Ford European Research Centre partnered with Dow Automotive Systems in the Hightech.NRW research project to develop the carbon fiber hood prototype. Ford also collaborated with the Institute of Automotive Engineering at RWTH Aachen University, Toho Tenax, Composite Impulse, Henkel, IKV (Institute of Plastics Processing) and Evonik. 
The new carbon fiber hood prototype weighs more than 50 percent less than the standard steel versions, yet is five times as strong as steel. The carbon fiber is also twice as stiff as steel and will reduce the weight of Ford vehicles by about 750 pounds by the end of the decade. 
"It's no secret that reducing a vehicle's weight can deliver major benefits for fuel consumption, but a process for fast and affordable production of carbon fibre automotive parts in large numbers has never been available," said Inga Wehmeyer, advanced materials and processes research engineer for Ford European Research Centre. "By partnering with materials experts through the Hightech.NRW research project, Ford is working to develop a solution that supports cost efficient manufacturing of carbon fibre components." 
The project started in 2010 and is expected to continue until September 2013. In that time frame, Ford and its partners set out to develop cost effective methods for carbon fiber manufacturing; reduce individual component production times; reduce the amount of finishing work required; meet requirements for painting, and reduce the component weight by at least 50 percent. 
"There are two ways to reduce energy use in vehicles," said Paul Mascarenas, Ford chief technical officer and vice president of Research and Innovation. "Improving the conversion efficiency of fuels to motion and reducing the amount of work that powertrains need to do. Ford is tackling the conversion problem primarily through downsizing engines with EcoBoost and electrification while mass reduction and improved aerodynamics are keys to reducing the workload."
So far, the outcome has been a prototype carbon fiber hood that weighs more than 50 percent less than standard steel. The carbon fiber hood was placed in a Ford Focus at the Composites Europe event in Dusseldorf, Germany. Early testing suggests that it will meet Ford's standards for dent resistance, crash performance and stiffness. 

Increasing fuel efficiency is crucial right now, considering the White House finalized the 54.5 MPG Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for 2017-2025 model years back in August of this year. The new standards aim to cut oil consumption/dependency, greenhouse gas emissions and encourage green vehicle adoption. 

Source: Ford

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Cool, but...
By Motoman on 10/9/2012 4:17:43 PM , Rating: 2
...OK, as a gearhead I'm all about carbon fiber.'s really expensive, and depending on the type they're using, can actually be kind of fragile in some ways.

My stupid question is...why not just use plastic body panels like Saturn used to?

RE: Cool, but...
By kleinma on 10/9/2012 4:21:39 PM , Rating: 1
Because when you walk into the dealership and they say "look at this state of the art carbon fiber hood, 5x as strong as steel and a half the weight, allowing the vehicle to have better performance without guzzling more gas" you are more likely to be interested than "look at our brand new model, with.. well, um, yeah its made of plastic, but on the up side, you can recycle remember how awesome those saturn vehicles were, oh you don't remember that car brand, yeah well they closed down a little while back.."

RE: Cool, but...
By Motoman on 10/9/2012 4:32:46 PM , Rating: 2
Firstly, lots of really expensive vehicles use plastic bodywork. Like the ~$32,500 Bimota DB5 RE motorcycle.

Plastic != cheap vehicle.

Plastic is significantly lighter than steel, naturally. And ridiculously less expensive than carbon fiber.

If a $20,000 car costs $22,000 with a carbon fiber hood, or $19,000 with all-plastic bodywork...and gets the benefit of lighter weight for better MPG...guess which one is going to sell better? Especially to the ~99% of all people in the world who don't know what carbon fiber is, and don't care?

RE: Cool, but...
By Guspaz on 10/10/2012 12:14:57 AM , Rating: 2
You can also sell the plastic body with scientific-sounding buzzwords. "advanced polymer plating" or something. Use self-healing plastic and you can both throw in some extra buzzwords and make it much more scratch-resistant.

RE: Cool, but...
By fredgiblet on 10/10/2012 5:51:12 PM , Rating: 2
That actually how Saturn did it.

"Polymer! Can you say that!?"

RE: Cool, but...
By Richard875yh5 on 10/11/2012 9:13:28 AM , Rating: 2
Right on!

RE: Cool, but...
By FITCamaro on 10/9/2012 4:39:25 PM , Rating: 2
The cool but is 50% less weight and 5x as strong as but also 5x as expensive to repair in the event of an accident. You ccan't hammer a ding out of a carbon fiber hood.

RE: Cool, but...
By Motoman on 10/9/2012 4:43:41 PM , Rating: 2
That is eminently true. And someone looking to buy, say, a Ford Focus isn't likely to be swayed to pay an extra couple grand for the vehicle because it has a carbon fiber hood. Or carbon fiber anything.

While you couldn't pound a dent out of a plastic body panel could economically throw it away and buy a new one. And get the benefit of lighter weight/better MPG.

RE: Cool, but...
By Spuke on 10/9/2012 6:32:53 PM , Rating: 4
They're not going to market carbon fiber. They'll market 5 mpg or whatever better than last years car.

RE: Cool, but...
By lagomorpha on 10/9/2012 7:59:50 PM , Rating: 2
A normal hood on a car that size weighs 25-30 lbs. Even if you switched to a magical massless material, 30 pounds will not get you 5mpg in a >3000 lbs car.

It's not going to be easy to market a $900 option that gives a 0.001% fuel efficiency increase. At least not to adults.

RE: Cool, but...
By Motoman on 10/9/2012 9:24:44 PM , Rating: 2
Indeed. You'd have to replace all the body panels with carbon fiber and then maybe save a couple hundred pounds. But if the car weighed 3,000 pounds to begin with, and now weighs 2,800 pounds...well. The difference isn't that big. Especially when you factor in what would surely be several thousand dollars added to the sticker price due to the carbon fiber.

200 pounds out of 3,000 is about 6.7%. If the car got 30 MPG before, and if we pretend that would scale linearly with weight (it wouldn't), then the car would now get 32 MPG. And probably cost $30,000 instead of $20,000.

RE: Cool, but...
By knutjb on 10/9/2012 11:40:13 PM , Rating: 1
Ford says:
The carbon fiber is also twice as stiff as steel and will reduce the weight of Ford vehicles by about 750 pounds by the end of the decade .
Did you read the article?

The cost of mass producing these parts should bring the price down. The differences between steel and aluminum in structural members is very close. So until they start mass producing full composite body structures weight will still be a problem. The irony is that more oil will be required to manufacture these vehicles.

We will get all composite cars and then they will complain that the car can catch fire and we have to regulate the pollution from that and prevent it from ever burning in the first place. Nothing will ever make "they" happy. After all they are committed to a life of misery and demand that you share in their righteous misery. No, I am not against technological advancement. I don't believe in forced, political advancement of technology.

Obama has unilaterally forced a paradigm shift, smaller cars and few if any trucks, that will cost the consumer substantially for a product they might not want in the end. People like having roomy cars for a number of reasons and there is nothing wrong with that.

RE: Cool, but...
By Samus on 10/10/2012 4:23:46 AM , Rating: 2
VIS makes very high quality carbon fiber hoods in OEM styles for hundreds of cars for ~$700. A hood for a 2004 Focus costs $610, 2007 Fusion is $740, and a 2012 Cruze for $700.

Seibon makes decent quality carbon fiber hoods in OEM styles for hundreds of cars for ~$400. Older cars like a 99-05 Jetta MK4 are $300 while a Pontiac G6 is $500.

I use both brands on my vehicles (every car and truck I own has a carbon fiber hood, some painted, some not) and the quality is excellent for both. The VIS hoods have thicker UV clearcoat and copy the OEM cowl contour better (perfectly, actually) but the Seibon hoods are great for daily drivers. I even have a set of carbon fiber fenders as well to protect my turbos, dual stage intake actuators, air intake tubes and other things inside/near the fenders (one of my custom pipes cost 5x as much as the fenders so its worth protecting.)

They can be professionally painted to match your OEM color for under $200 just about anywhere unless you have an exotic paint color. Installation of any hood is incredibly easy, usually four bolts. Getting the old hood off is the hardest part because its heavy. Once its off, you pop in some new windshield washer nozzles ($10-$15 bucks a pair at a dealer) and bolt it on which isn't hard when it weighs <10lbs.

Anyway, my point is carbon fiber isn't expensive, its substantially cheaper than people think it is. It has the potential to be cheaper than aluminum because its very, VERY easy to manufacture and work with. It's simply the difference of a stamping + lipping/sealing or a molding press + epoxy.

Manufacture adoption of carbon fiber body parts will obviously bring the costs down significantly as well. Many structural body parts will be carbon in 10 years.

RE: Cool, but...
By jRaskell on 10/10/2012 11:57:17 AM , Rating: 2
Who said anything about Options. CAFE standards require the cars actually be sold to influence a manufacturers ratings. These fuel efficiency changes won't be optional equipment. They'll all be standard and the base price of all vehicles will steadily increase as a result. The consumer isn't going to be given an option in this respect.

RE: Cool, but...
By Samus on 10/10/2012 4:03:36 AM , Rating: 3
Listen, you have four options for a hood. Let's focus on the Ford Focus.

Aftermarket - some of these are so poorly engineered they can kill you in an accident. They lack engineered crumple zones and could be too strong, snapping the hood hinges, sliding right through the windshield decapitating you. Many cases of this on many vehicles over the years. These hoods are generally very heavy and often don't seal the cowl and latch properly. This hood costs $100-$130.

Aftermarket fiberglass - no crumple zones, pretty weak, will split easily and offer no protection to you or your frame. However, fairly light and easy to paint/modify. Also very inexpensive. $150-$250.

OEM or OEM-approved - has proper crumple zones and will be heavier than aftermarket, but matches the original hood you had quite well. This hood costs $250-$350.

Aftermarket Carbon Fiber - no crumple zones, but not neccessary. These hoods are incredibly safe for pedestrian impact as well as object impact. Their ability to deform/conform/reform gives them buoyancy at the expense of shattering the epoxy that holds the initial shape. The hood will return to its original shape after impact, but the structural integrity will be sacrificed requiring re-epoxy ($300-$400) and obvious repainting if you want it painted. These hoods are superior to all hood options in every way: heat disipation, noise insulation, impact absorbtion, safety, feathery weight (mine weighs 6lbs) and the carbon weave looks beautiful and natural on a black vehicle, while looking sporty on a white vehicle. $400-$800 in varying qualities and styles.

Lastly , nobody "repairs" hoods anymore... if any repair requires repainting, they are sent on a slowboat to China. It isn't cost effective to even bend a dented hood back if it is going to need to be painted anyway. The prep work to 'refurb' an old hood outweighs the cost of a new hood that comes primed and easily painted for a few hundred bucks.

Every vehicle should have a carbon fiber hood. I've crashed a lot autocrossing and rallyecrossing; the hood almost always saves the subframe legs and engine cradle. I impacted concrete barrier at 50mph and the exhaust manifold wasn't even impacted, and even that hood was repaired for $200 in re-epoxy and clearcoat.

A carbon fiber hood on every vehicle would reduce overall collision repair costs astronomically. Obviously there will be lots of damage in a frontal collision forward of the bonnet, but bumpers, grills and radiators are cheap, the stuff behind them is not, especially the human bodies.

RE: Cool, but...
By 91TTZ on 10/10/12, Rating: 0
RE: Cool, but...
By Samus on 10/10/2012 12:44:24 PM , Rating: 2
An automotive engineer that races cars just cant exist in your universe I guess...

RE: Cool, but...
By Flunk on 10/9/2012 4:57:19 PM , Rating: 3
The reason no one is using polymer panels like Saturn did is that it requires them to build a reinforced frame under the body (adding a lot of expense and weight). Most cars these days are unibody construction and actually weigh less than Saturns did.

I can see why you would think that if you'd never seen what was underneath the body panels of a Saturn.

RE: Cool, but...
By Motoman on 10/9/2012 5:03:26 PM , Rating: 2 you're saying the body panels are actually structural? Interesting.

As alluded to in a post above, I'm coming at this from a standpoint of motorcycle mechanics, not automotive...but I can say that motorcycles don't really have much in the way of "reinforced frames" underneath their plastic body panels...they need attach points here and there, which might entail a steel bracket once in a while...but it's not like the plastic needs a frame under it to maintain integrity or anything.

RE: Cool, but...
By torpor on 10/9/2012 6:07:50 PM , Rating: 1
If I could put words in Flunk's mouth, it's not that the panels are structural, it's that they lack the rigidity needed to not deform at highway speeds. So you have to build supports every so often to keep the plastic panels from wavering in the breeze.

I still remember the Saturn commercials where some kid would beat the side of the car with a baseball bat, and the panel would deform/reform like a Rubbermaid garbage can.

So I still call 'em garbage can cars to this day, even though they gave up on the plastic panels.

RE: Cool, but...
By Motoman on 10/9/2012 8:13:59 PM , Rating: 2, the plastic bodywork on a Suzuki Hayabusa deforms at 200MPH?

Don't think so.

RE: Cool, but...
By torpor on 10/9/2012 9:23:15 PM , Rating: 2
Show me plastic bodywork on a Hayabusa the size of a door panel on a 2-door coupe.

Size matters.

RE: Cool, but...
By Motoman on 10/9/2012 9:28:16 PM , Rating: 2

The whole f%cking thing is plastic.

Not to mention lots of other machines like the Ducati Paso:

And dare I say even a Gold Wing?

...or maybe a Can-Am Spyder? done now?

RE: Cool, but...
By Camikazi on 10/9/2012 9:51:23 PM , Rating: 2
None of those are one single flat panel though, they are multiple pieces and contoured to be more streamlined so they would resist wavering at high speeds. Those dips and valleys aren't just for decoration, they make them stronger so they won't bend at speed. Doors on cars are generally one large smooth piece so would need something behind to make them not wobble around with high speeds.

RE: Cool, but...
By Motoman on 10/10/2012 11:36:18 AM , Rating: 2
Nope. Look at the photo that a dipsh!t just posted here that undermines his own theory:

There's no subframe under there to provide any special support of those plastic door panels.

And I have seen some *very* flimsy aftermarket plastic for sportbikes (I'm looking at you, Maier) that works just fine. Your vastly increasing the forces involved in your head.

RE: Cool, but...
By torpor on 10/9/2012 11:26:56 PM , Rating: 2
Camicazi made the point for me, but since you insist on highlighting your ignorance, I'll help you.

Here's a Saturn SL2, the car we're talking about. Note the size of the relatively flat panels. Imagine a big, flat sheet like that on a motorcycle doing, what was it, 200mph? I'm still waiting to see one that size, big boy....

And to prove it's plastic, because a stubbornly ignorant guy like you will probably go there next, here's a fun little image for you:

So I have to ask you. Are *you* done now, punk?

RE: Cool, but...
By theapparition on 10/10/2012 10:39:37 AM , Rating: 2
Stop with the insults, especially when you don't know as much as you think you do.

The Corvette also has "plastic" panels and that's a 190mph car. No, they are no longer fiberglass as they stopped using fiberglass decades ago. Technically, they are composite, which many plastics fall into the same category. Just because Saturn used a lower grade of plastic, doesn't mean that plastic or composites are not feasible for use.

RE: Cool, but...
By Motoman on 10/10/2012 11:32:17 AM , Rating: 2
I was done before...and so were you, but you just keep going. Note the post that theapparation made.

There's lots of different kinds of plastics, and your continued insistence that there's something inherently different between the slab-sided Duck I posted and the Saturn door panel is just sheer stupidity.

RE: Cool, but...
By Motoman on 10/10/2012 11:34:23 AM , Rating: 2
Also, look at the f%cking picture you just posted yourself. Is there any special subframe there to support the plastic panels that just melted off?


You just proved yourself wrong. Congrats!

RE: Cool, but...
By Samus on 10/10/2012 4:29:17 AM , Rating: 2
Moto, there are 22 grades of plastic polymer. I don't think Saturn and Ducati use the same resin, especially when quality resin can cost $240/liter. A motorcycle fairing is substantially less material than, say, a quarter-panel to a car, while that whole car still has to cost less than a sport bike to manufacture.

I know Aprilia for example uses a carbon-composite plastic for their fairings, so don't confuse what you may think is plastic that might actually be carbon-composite or even carbon-fiber, especially on current-gen bikes.

RE: Cool, but...
By Motoman on 10/10/2012 11:37:38 AM , Rating: 2
There's all kinds of composites and different types of point has been that they're all cheaper than carbon fiber.

Use any such type of material that you want.

But no...carbon-fiber is *not* used as a body panel material on anything short of like $50,000 limited edition repli-racer things.

RE: Cool, but...
By Samus on 10/10/2012 7:08:06 PM , Rating: 2
Are you kidding me? Carbon fiber body panels have been available on the 999s, CBRs and GSXRs for decades. I saw a CBR at the Honda dealer on the showroom floor last spring pre-equiped with a Carbon package for $2000+ including a full carbon helmet.

Carbon frames are another story. Body panels? Pfft, slightly more expensive than plastic. Obviously on a motorcycle its mostly for show; weight savings over plastic is immeasurable and the improved safety is not applicable.

My mountain bike is mostly carbon fiber and the weight savings over aluminum are also non-existant. Some things like aluminum handlebars and stems are actually lighter than carbon fiber, but for biking applications carbon is stronger and absorbs harsh jumps and impacts better. The transfer of energy through a carbon fork > carbon stem > carbon bars is definately reduced opposed to steel, titanium or aluminum.

All I'm saying is I think the focus on carbon fiber shouldn't be the cost (because in many cases increased price is negligible at best when all factors are considered.)

RE: Cool, but...
By Motoman on 10/10/2012 7:26:47 PM , Rating: 2
Big difference between "available" and OEM equipment.

Yeah, you can buy carbon fiber bodywork for essentially any sportbike on the market.

But it didn't come that was as OEM equipment.

I think the focus, in this case, should be on cost. For stuff like body panels for sure, since the difference in weight between carbon fiber and any of the myrad of plastic/composite materials is negligible - but the price difference would be horrendous.

...and on the note about price...I'm not exactly sure how you decide that a $2,000 carbon package is a "pfft slightly more expensive" issue. Two grand over the base price of the bike is "slightly" more expensive? Right. Kinda like how concrete is slightly harder than jello.

RE: Cool, but...
By Samus on 10/15/2012 5:08:53 AM , Rating: 2
When you have a $30,000 Aprilia or Ducatti, a $2,000 cosmetic upgrade is neither here or there. I know people who've spent that having their wheels acid dipped and powder coated. What's the difference?

But the point stands, carbon fiber on a bike (unless the FRAME is made out of it) really doesn't make sense.

On a car, it is multi-dimensionable since it adds safety, rigidity/reduced colision damage, and is substantially lighter than just about any alternative. On a bike, you get none of that.

And personally, I ride a classic blacked out cruiser and think carbon fiber on a motorcycle looks ridiculous simple because of the form over function application.

RE: Cool, but...
By BZDTemp on 10/10/2012 3:34:40 AM , Rating: 2
Not all body panels are but even the wind shield in a car is doing a part for structural strength.

RE: Cool, but...
By inperfectdarkness on 10/10/2012 3:38:29 AM , Rating: 2
i think 20 years of technology developments have improved polymers and structural advances in automotive frames.

I think the trick (at least in some cases) is to make the plastic panels intentially look like plastic. With some SUV's--for example--riveted on fenders & other body parts gives the vehicle a rugged appearance. Rather than having a complete unibody, perhaps semi-unibody frames can be built which are structurally sound on their own, but designed to support the polymer pieces without additional bracing/weight. this is done all the time with tube-framed racing cars, so a similar concept should work fairly well in production vehicles.

RE: Cool, but...
By Reclaimer77 on 10/9/2012 6:47:30 PM , Rating: 1
My friend's Impreza STI has the lightest hood I've ever felt. They didn't need exotic materials, they just used REALLY thin sheet metal and cut down on the bracing.

This is just marketing hype to make them appear progressive, not a realistic solution. Wow, so they lightened the hood, just the hood, by a few pounds for thirty times the cost. WOW I'm blown away!

The only way to possibly meet these CAFE standards is to dramatically decrease car weight. Which means making cars much much smaller, dangerously so.

But hey, increased accident fatalities are a small price to pay for umm, whatever we're getting in return.

RE: Cool, but...
By lagomorpha on 10/9/2012 8:05:32 PM , Rating: 3
But hey, increased accident fatalities are a small price to pay for umm, whatever we're getting in return.

In fairness, being in a smaller car doesn't increase accident fatality rates provided the other car you're colliding with is also smaller by the same amount. We just need to make large cars so rare that you're unlikely to ever encounter one.

And don't give me the "what if you get hit by a semi" argument. If an 80,000 pound truck hits you then it will rip through your 1-ton truck like a train punches through a semi-trailer.

RE: Cool, but...
By Reclaimer77 on 10/9/2012 8:11:52 PM , Rating: 2
We just need to make large cars so rare that you're unlikely to ever encounter one.

Socialist says what?

Nah I'm just messing with ya :D I meant to say "I hate you", but that might have been too extreme.

RE: Cool, but...
By lagomorpha on 10/9/2012 8:15:26 PM , Rating: 3
No, it's cool I understand where you're coming from. I'm actually against government control of individual choices as well. After all some men need some way of compensating for their natural shortcomings.

Now if only the government would stay out of my decision to purchase a fun little British deathbox. My life, my decision.

RE: Cool, but...
By Reclaimer77 on 10/9/2012 8:33:59 PM , Rating: 2
Okay I guess you just don't get it. We're not talking about huge trucks, SUV's, or "muscle cars". Midsized sedans of today won't even make the CAFE cut. And I don't think you can objectively state they are "too large".

I understand the appeal of CAFE to some people, and I really don't care about getting into that right now. I'm just stating facts when I state accident fatalities, a statistic we FINALLY have made great strides in lowering, will steadily climb.

Also your theory that if every car was small, that would magically make things safer, is just wrong.

RE: Cool, but...
By Samus on 10/10/2012 4:40:13 AM , Rating: 2
Reclaimer, we've had the technology to make CAFE fleet averages 55MPG for decades.

It's called common rail diesel and its 30 year old concept.

Don't tell me modern (and future) concepts won't get our fleet average to 50+ MPG in 10 years.

Without government regulation, LA would be a toxic wasteland like Beijing where children develope respiratory problems by the time they are toddlers, birth defects are rampant, and cancer cases are escalating.

I'm so tired of your anti-government rhetoric. You bring politics into every single one of your posts. THIS ARTICLE IS ABOUT CARBON FIBER HOODS. Why do you always go on these wild anarchist tangents?

RE: Cool, but...
By FITCamaro on 10/10/2012 7:51:06 AM , Rating: 2
The rest of the country shouldn't bend on the whims of the citizens of LA.

RE: Cool, but...
By Samus on 10/10/2012 7:16:12 PM , Rating: 2
So are you suggesting CAFE shouldn't have made the catalytic convertor a required component on all vehicles so the rest of the country could develope LA's pollution problem?

Have you ever heard of prevention or accountability? The whole reason the government exists is to take care of its citizens. The country would fall apart if people didn't have their health. This is why the government is trying to make foods healthier, education better, and the environment cleaner. If it were up to corporations, all that would matter is profits. Do you really think Ford, GM, or any manufacture for that matter cared about pollution in the 70's?

These dillusions people have that government shouldn't regulate all the way down to large cars are safer than small cars really show how poorly our governments mandated educational guidelines are working, thats for sure...

RE: Cool, but...
By Reclaimer77 on 10/10/2012 3:08:01 PM , Rating: 2
Where did I bring up politics? If you're fine with everyone driving around in something the size of a Fiat 500, and dying in larger numbers, that's on you.

Reclaimer, we've had the technology to make CAFE fleet averages 55MPG for decades.

Nobody in the ENTIRE WORLD has fleet averages that meet 55+ mpg. Not even Europe. So please, excuse me for calling BS on this statement.

The only way to meet these averages is to cut out trucks, SUV's and sedans from the market. And either make electric vehicles, or tiny cars, probably both. And I know you Liberals think those are novel goals, but I don't think it's the responsibility of the Government to effect those changes.

Without government regulation, LA would be a toxic wasteland like Beijing where children develope respiratory problems by the time they are toddlers, birth defects are rampant, and cancer cases are escalating.

Nice emotional hyperbole that doesn't even match the discussion. CAFE regulations had NOTHING to do with clearing up LA's air. You're confusing fuel economy with pollution, learn the difference.

And no offense, but I could give two shi#$ about LA. It's just ONE city, and you big-Government socialists bring it up EVERY TIME this discussion comes up. Poor city planning, bad infrastructure, and natural weather conditions that contribute to smog in LA have nothing to do with me.

I'm so tired of your anti-government rhetoric.

Then do yourself and I a favor and don't read Daily Tech. 11k+ posts, do I show any signs of going away?

RE: Cool, but...
By RedemptionAD on 10/10/2012 4:33:10 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with political discussions is idiots on both sides seem to think it is all government or no government, when in reality it is about proberly placed government that doesn't overstep it's bounds. True capitalism is Anarchy, full government control is Communism (which was invented by a guy whom worshiped Satan). Noone here really wants either, the fact is that the USA is a Socialist/Capitalist blend economy ideally tilted more capitalist. Standards can be a good thing, but making sure that they are realistic is the important part when they are set.

The government here actually has overstepped in places like national security almost to the point of paranoia and stripped people of many basic rights as well as overspends like a crackhead at a drug dealer convention on just about everything, those issues need to be addressed immediately before people start complaining too much about a 55mpg CAFE standard. The issue now is the same as many government people pointed out at the big 3 when the bailouts were on the table, is they are in debt to the gills and a soft breeze in their income will send them into bankruptcy. Priorities need to be realligned and taken care of today, election year or not, because if it doesn't happen, tomorrow may never get a chance to come.

RE: Cool, but...
By Samus on 10/10/2012 7:26:11 PM , Rating: 2
Reclaimer, you can pick any body-on-frame car or truck from any manufacture that doesn't require a CDL license, and I'll pick a fiat 500, and we'll have a head-on collision at 70mph (effective speed of each vehicle 35mph) and the outcome will be I will make it home for dinner and you'll be sucking your dinner through a straw for the next 8 months.

Large cars are NOT safer. They are inherently NOT safer, because they are built on 2000-year-old technology pioneered when someone decided to mount a carriage to a horse and put a seat on top of the carriage. Your body-on-frame vehicles (which are STILL most trucks) have no crumple zones and depend on the hydraulic engine mounts failing to drop the engine in order for it not to crush the occupants. They also have substantially worse handling characteristics, more body flex, and in order to reduce the weight incured by its inherent design, they sacrific safety where UNIBODY's emphasize it.

This isn't the 70's anymore. Safety technology has improved tremendously, and most of it only applies to unibody construction. This is why fewer and fewer cars incorporate it year-after-year. So stop it with the age-old mindset that bigger is safer. It simply is not true, and is quite the opposite. Bigger is more dangerous.

RE: Cool, but...
By erple2 on 10/19/2012 5:42:58 AM , Rating: 2
head-on collision at 70mph (effective speed of each vehicle 35mph)

You were fine, except for this physics blunder. Conservation of momentum says this bit was false. It's effectively 70 mph, though higher for the lighter car, lower for the heavier car. The question is, whether the fiat is safer hitting a brick wall at a bit more than 70, than a body on frame vehicle is at a bit less than 70. For modern cars, cars tend to be safer in that instance than modern body on frame vehicles.

RE: Cool, but...
By lagomorpha on 10/9/2012 8:18:55 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention in the long term rising gas prices will pretty much make large cars nonviable without any government intervention. Not many can put a lot of miles on muscle cars when gas is $20 a gallon.

RE: Cool, but...
By titanmiller on 10/9/2012 9:08:45 PM , Rating: 2
they just used REALLY thin sheet metal and cut down on the bracing.

So the first minor hail storm that rolls through will dent it all to hell.

RE: Cool, but...
By Kyuu on 10/9/2012 10:03:57 PM , Rating: 2
"The only way to possibly meet these CAFE standards is to dramatically decrease car weight. Which means making cars much much smaller, dangerously so."

I'm not necessarily in favor of the overbearing new CAFE rules, but this is patently false. That's the only possible way if there are no increases to engine efficiency or other areas, sure. But obviously there will be other advancements in addition to lower weights. Plus, there's always hybrids,electrics, and alternative fuels (though I know you hate those).

Also, cars have become *much* smaller and lighter over the last couple decades, while their safety and accident-worthiness have dramatically improved. Therefore, I don't see how your claim that smaller and lighter vehicles are going in increased accident fatalities holds any water.

RE: Cool, but...
By fishman on 10/10/2012 8:57:14 AM , Rating: 2
Also, cars have become *much* smaller and lighter over the last couple decades, while their safety and accident-worthiness have dramatically improved.

Cars have actually gained quite a bit of weight.

RE: Cool, but...
By theapparition on 10/10/2012 10:46:49 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah. What was he smoking?

Cars sold today are typically 50-100% heavier than similar models decades ago. Most of that extra weight comes from safety measures and extra amenities.

And lowering weight does nothing to reduce highway mileage. Nothing. It only has an impact on city driving where you are constantly trying to overcome momentum. Highway mileage is only a factor of drag, both aerodynamic and rolling resistance.

RE: Cool, but...
By jeffkro on 10/9/2012 6:55:28 PM , Rating: 2
Ford has been building aluminum hoods for a few years, why don't they use that for the comparison? Making the whole chassis out of aluminum works great and isn't a whole lot different then making it out of steel. I don't know why the industry doesn't make more to aluminum.

RE: Cool, but...
By Motoman on 10/9/2012 8:16:32 PM , Rating: 2
I do.

For one, it's a lot more expensive than steel. And it's more expensive to work with. Ask a welder what he'd rather work with, aluminum or steel.

Aluminum also is way more prone to stress fractures than steel. People with aluminum-frame trailers that I know are frequently having to get cracks in their frame rails welded back up.

Aluminum is not a magic bullet. It solves a lot of problems better than steel in a lot of ways...but it also introduces it's own problems.

RE: Cool, but...
By jeffkro on 10/9/2012 10:00:40 PM , Rating: 2
Cost goes down once the industry moves over, and I haven't heard of any problems with the aluminum cars out on the road, such as the corvette and Rx7.

RE: Cool, but...
By Motoman on 10/10/2012 11:38:43 AM , Rating: 2
Ask a metallurgist. Aluminum has markedly different properties than steel, and stress fracturing is one of them.

RE: Cool, but...
By Motoman on 10/10/2012 11:40:21 AM , Rating: 2
Oh, and the cost of aluminum isn't going to go down if more people start using it - the cost would go up. More demand for the same product. Aluminum costs more to produce at every step of the way, and there's less of it available too.

Especially if you want the really high-grade stuff, like 7075.

RE: Cool, but...
By danjw1 on 10/9/2012 7:17:27 PM , Rating: 2
Mass production leads to lower costs. Airplanes are using carbon fiber, the boeing 787 airframe it carbon fiber. Ford is looking at ways to get the costs lower to where it is feasible to build car bodies from carbon fiber, that makes since. BTW, carbon fiber is only a part of the material. Carbon fiber is layered with fiberglass to form composites. So, it won't be all carbon fiber.

RE: Cool, but...
By jimbojimbo on 10/9/2012 7:54:32 PM , Rating: 2
Don't worry about it. Obama will push for a $500 tax credit for buying cars with carbon fiber panels. I'm really joking but I really wouldn't be surprised if this came true.

RE: Cool, but...
By integr8d on 10/9/2012 11:58:26 PM , Rating: 2
I wondered what happened to those plastic panels as well. The official story was that the required gapping in the panels was too great (due to heat expansion). But it's curious. Plastic body panels would also kill a huge portion of the body repair industry. Though I'm sure that had nothing to do with it ;)

RE: Cool, but...
By BZDTemp on 10/10/2012 3:19:21 AM , Rating: 2
The article makes it sounds like Ford has invented something amazing, while it's just them doing what has been in racing and by tuners for a very long time.

Oh, and btw. somewhat related the hood on my MX-5 is aluminum and Mazda has been using that materials for the MX-5/Miata hoods since day 1 back in 1989.

RE: Cool, but...
By Argon18 on 10/30/2012 6:46:54 PM , Rating: 2
And high end manufacturers like Porsche have used aluminum in car body panels since the 1960's.

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