Big Black Book

bad ass book of doom? not quite yet...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Carbon fiber to the rescue?





James May (Of Top Gear fame) was ranting about the hype surrounding carbon fiber (CF) in Top Gear Malaysia magazine a few months back. He pointed out that it was useless having those extra few kilograms shaved off. According to his article, it's unnecessary to have CF in your car if it's not a track car.



Yes, yes, yes, yes I know, I know, I know : It make sense for racing car tubs, aeroplane wings, the shafts of golf clubs and fishing rods. But I'm talking here about CF as an adornment, which you will find in your car and other inappropriate places. I'm driven to this by the discovery that the CF roof of the new BMW M3 is standard and not painted, so everyone can see it. Why?

However, no one is driving around with a cubic metre of steel in the car and lamenting its devastating impact on handling. Obviously, a CF roof will lower the centre of gravity a bit, but so will having a haircut or removing the loose change from your pocket. It doesn't matter but does make you look a bit of a berk.

-James May
Top Gear Malaysia magazine,
Issue 10, page 40




Come on James, those extra kilogrammes saved would go well in helping you get a better fuel economy. Lighter car = less power needed to propel to car forward = better fuel economy.

"I'm reminded of the early Eighties elevation of the word 'turbo' to denote excellence. The Saab Turbo was a cool car, so turbos were. Turbo vacuum cleaners. Turbo sunglasses."
-James May










Recently, (Yea we're still on the CF craze, and this is to make you eat your words James) a group of Japanese companies which hold a 70% share in the global CF market wants to diversify its usage and apply it to our daily drives.

You only get CF in your stock vehicle only if the car is worth more than RM 500,000. Yes that's how exclusive it is. Above that price, you would get goodies like CF roof, CF rear spoiler/diffuser, CF hood, CF trunk and so on. Well, if you have the cash, go beyond the RM 1,000,000 border and you'll be rewarded with almost a full CF car.









Carbon Fiber : 1,800kg per cubic metre
Mild steels : 7,800kg per cubic metre
Aluminium Alloy : 2,600kg per cubic metre





Why is it so expensive? No not the car, CF. Paul stated that it was expensive because of its cost of materials, cost of manufacturing and time needed for manufacturing. A lot of energy would be required (Yes scream now you friggin environmentalists) and it would take hours to mould it into shape. It seems that producing CF parts will incur a high level of wastage as well. Another one for you, tree-huggers.

So why is this group trying to mass produce CF cars since it is so costly? The only reason would be rising fuel prices. In a not too distant future, fuel efficient vehicles will be the best selling product for car manufacturers. So why not? Teijin - one of the companies dealing with CF has already sped up the whole process into just 10 minutes. 10 minutes per part? Still nothing compared with stamping sheet metal in seconds.

A few years down the road and we might find CF Kancils and Sagas running around here. Achieving 20km per litre might be a dream come true by then. Till then, dream on...

6 Comment(s):

jėss.T said...

amongst all the wonderful pictures u got, only ONE and ONE only caught my eye.



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the Apple iMacbook




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omg.

Vincent said...

And you're mocking the macbook with the sticker on yer laptop. lol.. How ironic... =)

kevin said...

i agree. only the mac. hhahaha.

sini where can CF la bro.

u see the amount of R3 cars getting their CF's stolen.

Vincent said...

The mac is in James May's list of unnecessary CFs.

What do you mean Kev? Their CF hood got stolen? Is it really that bad?

kevin said...

hood not that apparent la.

dont you notice alot of satria R3's missing their CF wing?

Vincent said...

Woah.. I see. I didn't notice that because there aren't many satria R3 in Penang. The price of CF will eventually come down as mass production of CF vehicles starts.