“It is essential to work on this from now,” Vallino said of the third option.
Even if this method wasn’t quite ready for use on vehicles, “we will have no choice.”
“Without any doubt, the use of composite materials in mass production will be a real revolution for automotive industry,” Vallino said.
Pulling such lightweighting off will require a collaboration of OEMs, academics, software engineers — modeling will be key, he said — and suppliers, according to Vallino.
Abraham said DuckerFrontier’s research was more bearish, finding carbon-fiber too cost-prohibitive in the near term compared to aluminum and steel. However, he noted that depending on how close an OEM sits to that 54.5 mpg-by-2025 CAFE standard, “the willingness may shift accordingly.”
The audience seemed to agree with Vallino. An informal poll of the webinar (unfortunately, the number of participants wasn’t disclosed, so treat the data accordingly) found strong support for carbon-fiber making a dent — and quickly.