According to reports in the news recently, car designers could be set to use wood pulp in a bid to make cars lighter, stronger and cheaper. This material is said to be FIVE times stronger than steel but weighs 80 per cent less!
As a result one of the leading car manufacturers Toyota, has partnered up with Kyoto University in Japan, to experiment with plastics that feature wood pulp. A prototype version of a car is set to be built using these revolutionary cellulose nano fibres, with completion set to be finished by the year 2020.
This is not the first time wood has been used in structural elements of a car. For example, sports car company Morgan has made frames from wood material since the 1930s. However, this new way of thinking is much more cutting-edge, this technology is poised to rival carbon fibre as auto manufacturers look to make cars more efficient in 21st century.
This method once developed, will be much lighter than today’s current materials. With the possibility of electric cars coming into play too, slashing weight is vital for these type of models with fewer batteries required to power lighter motors. It would make battery-powered cars cheaper – and give them a bigger range between charges.
Toyota Project Manager, Masanori Matsushiro told Reuters: “Light weighting is a constant issue for us.”
“But we also have to resolve the issue of high manufacturing costs before we see an increased use of new, lighter-weight materials in mass-volume cars.”
Toyota aren’t the only company to be taking on the idea, BMW has introduced a carbon fibre body shell in its i3 while high-strength aluminium alloys are used on top-end motors. So, it’s not only wood pulp being tested by experts either.
In a further twist, Dutch students have undertaken the challenge of making a car from the resin extracted from sugar! While Google’s self-driving project named Waymo has a main feature of patented shape-shifting bodywork, this cushions landings for pedestrians in the event of a crash.
Is this something you would consider when buying your new car?
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