A new car manufacturer based out of The British Midlands area has popped up with the goal to develop the most fuel efficient vehicles in Europe. The companies name is Axon Automotive, and they have developed a new passenger vehicle that is capable of doing about 100mpg with a top speed of 90mph using regular pump gas.
The secret to obtaining such good fuel efficiency lies in…you guessed it, carbon fiber. The company has patented a mass-production technique that allow much of the structural elements and body panels of the car from carbon composites. These pieces are made from carbon fiber “ropes” each braided over a foam core and infused with epoxy resin. They are just as strong as steel, weigh only 40% of the weight, and can be made cheaper.
At this time, carbon fiber is considered more of an exotic material. The costs are too high for automotive manufacturers to utilize, although there are steps being taken to get the material into the mass-market. If Axon has created a method to use carbon fiber, and reduce such a great amount of weight, at a cheaper cost…why not use these methods?
The car will be released as a 2010 model, with no official name or price yet. We just know it will be considered “affordable”. The main question that came up for me was safety. I’d like to know how the car handles in an accident scenario as opposed to a car made out of aluminum/steel. Is it just as safe? What about expenses to fix after an accident? Is it cost effective? These are all questions that will be answered as we get closer to a release date. In the meantime, it’s a huge step towards the carbon fiber movement, and we’re looking forward to it.