CFRP (Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastics): use over next years in 5 German carmakers

The overall objective of this study is to analyse the use of CFRP (Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics) over the next years (more precisely over the next 5 years and a view fir following years) by
5 German carmakers: 


To reduce CO2 emissions in the road transport sector, European bodies have set targets of  CO2/km to apply to the entire fleet of  vehicles: 95g from 2021 for passenger cars and of 147 g from 2020 for light commercial vehicles.
The modalities for compliance with these targets were agreed by the European Parliament and the Council in 2014 with Regulation (EU) No 333/2014 amending Regulation (EC) No 443/2009 and Regulation (EU)253/2014 amending Regulation (EU) No 510/2011.
Each carmaker has its individual annual target calculated on the "mass in running order" of the registered passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.

Not all the carmakers have the same positioning versus these targets.
While generalists tend to get easily close to the targets, premium cars will have to deploy more efforts. 

One of the ways enabling CO2 decrease is the decrease of weight.

However the weight of vehicles has continuously increased (at the exception of the 2009 crisis) from 1990 to 2012.
The automotive industry has deployed many efforts during the same period to decrease the weight of cars. 
These efforts have been successful as lighter and lighter systems have been developed and mounted on cars. 
But they could not offset increase of weight driven by the needs of new functionalities: increase of safety, better protection of the environment, improvement of comfort, more convenience for the driver and the passengers.

Consequently all carmakers have increased their efforts to decrease the weight of the cars.


The use of Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastics is a very  efficient but expensive way to reduce  the  weight of the cars.
Two different approaches can be observed:
- Start as soon as possible in production and, at the same time, decrease  the cost of the manufacturing process.
This is the path followed by the German Premium carmakers.
- Develop R&D cooperative programs to develop much less expensive carbon fibers.
This is the path followed by the French industry.

The objective of this study is to analyse the ways followed by 5 German carmakers:

High Performance Glass Fibre Reinforced Plastics (HP-GFRP) in the European Automotive Industry
ØThis study was demanded to Inovev by its customers after their following analysis of the trends in the European automotive industry:
• Due to the decrease of diesel motorizations, more CO2 is emitted by thermal engine cars.
Each time that a diesel engine car is replaced by a gasoline car, CO2 jumps by around 20%.
At the same moment, European commission has an
objective to lower the average CO2 emitted by cars in Europe (Euro 6 and Euro 7 target).
• Some carmakers are better positioned than other ones for reaching the planned limits, but all  will have to work.
A valuable option is to decrease the weight of vehicles, in particular by utilizing light materials such as composite materials.
In addition, weight decreases
enable less pollutants emissions.
• At the same time a growing number of alternative energy vehicles, especially electrified vehicles, arrive onto the market.
And, in parallel,
new functions are developing fast, such as ADAS (Advance Driver Assistance Systems), with its ultimate stage: the autonomous vehicle.
These trends lead to new designs and engineering. 
Some parts disappear, new parts appear, some parts are drastically modified.
• Another trend is the evolution of styling (SUV vehicles, electric vehicles).

All these factors reinforce the competition between materials, but also their alliances, towards an optimised and affordable design.

ØComposite materials have many assets.
Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastics materials are very interesting due to their performances but their prices make them restrained to Premium car markets (see CFRP study edited by Inovev).
Thanks to their much lower price, High Performance Glass Fibre Reinforced Plastics are already used for mainstream cars for the construction of many different types of parts.
But much more GFRP applications could be developed, providing that their productivity increases.

Consequently, major R&D projects have been conducted over the last years, projects which have started and will continue to be a basis for new applications.

Ø All these elements and discussions with automotive industry companies have led Inovev to launch this new study relating to the High Performance Glass Fibre Reinforced Plastics.
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