German materials expert Freudenberg SE helps find products and applications its divisions will need 10 years from now through its Freudenberg Technology Innovation unit.
FTI assumes the global auto industry will offer a range of combustion, fuel cell, hybrid and battery powertrains for many years, says Fernando Portela-Cubillo, the group’s technical director. He notes that carmakers have difference approaches for each of these options, which provides a complex but rich array of business opportunities for Freudenberg.
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While Ford has reset the stakes in the light-duty pickup market with the aluminum-intensive F-150, that’s not the whole story of what they’ve done to this new generation of America’s best-selling vehicle.
How carbon fiber is utilized is as different as the vehicles on which it is used. From full carbon tubs to partial panels to welded steel tube sandwich structures, the only limitation is imagination.
Remember those Saturn commercials showing shopping carts bouncing harmlessly off of plastic body panels? Good idea, right? But apparently the approach never really caught on. Now the question is: will it ever?