Natural Fiber-Reinforced Composite Developed for Toyota EV Concept
Concept cars always have features that are not part of existing production vehicles (which is why they are concepts and not things like “production-intent vehicles”), but which, quite possibly, can make it into production. Here’s one that fits that description:
Toyota Boshoku Corp., an interior components supplier to guess who, tapped materials supplier Covestro to work with it in developing a new polyurethane composite material for use in an electric concept car developed by Toyota, the LQ.
The Toyota LQ, an electric concept vehicle (Image: Toyota/Covestro)
What is interesting about this material is that it is a two-component polyurethane (Baypreg F NF) that is reinforced with kenaf, a plant fiber that Toyota Boshoku has experience working with.
The resulting kenaf fiber-reinforced polyurethane foam has an area density of less than 1 kg/m2 and high strength. The door trim that is made with the material is 30% lighter than conventional materials used for the application.
Mass reduction is particularly important in electric vehicles as less mass to move means the opportunity for longer range.
Door trim components in the LQ are made with a kenaf-reinforced polyurethane foam developed by Toyota Boshoku and Covestro. (Image: Toyota/Covestro)
In addition to which, the use of the cost-effective, natural fibers is an advantage in terms of sustainable production.
If you look at the top of the cab of that Mack Anthem Class 8 truck you’ll note the way it arcs back to the trailer.
On Easter morning in Moab, Utah, when the population of that exceedingly-hard-to-get-to town in one of the most beautiful settings on Earth has more than doubled, some people won’t be hunting for Easter eggs, but will be trying to get a good look at one of the vehicles six that Jeep has prepared for real-life, fast-feedback from the assembled at the annual Easter Jeep Safari.
The OEM is finding the ways and means to deploy the process throughout product development and production