electric cars, high tech, Motoring News, vehicle technology

Will Williams carbon-fibre update change how cars go?

Williams Advanced Engineering FW-EVX electric vehicle platform concept
CUTTING THE COST OF CARBON: Williams ‘Advanced Engineering FW-EVX electric vehicle platform concept. Image: Newspress

LONDON, England – Williams Advanced Engineering has published a White Paper to showcase its proprietary, patent-pending, innovations in carbon composites and the benefits they offer not only to the automotive industry

The company has developed two pieces of ”innovative” technology that, it says, ”promises a step change in the affordability of composites”.

Known as 223 and Racetrak, they are said to offer performance comparable with existing composites, but with a range of extra benefits, at a cost that brings them within reach of mainstream applications.

‘NEW APPROACHES TO DESIGN’

Williams says they are not simply manufacturing innovations: ”They’re end-to-end, whole-life, solutions that address every aspect of the manufacture, use, and recycling of carbon fibre-reinforced polymers (CFRP) and the way in which their properties can enable new approaches to vehicle design and manufacture.”

Iain Bomphray, Williams’ chief technology specialist for light structures , was the innovator.

”Racetrak and 223,” Williams says, ”are but two examples of new technology, developed and commercialised by us. This approach has a potential to develop new areas of business that will also make significant contributions to the industries in which we work.”

LONG WAIT FOR ADOPTION

CFRP, Williams asserted, was a material of huge promise. ”Its exceptionally high strength-to-weight ratio, impressive stiffness, and excellent fatigue and environmental resistance make it an attractive choice for a wide variety of industries and applications.”

Particularly the automotive industry: think fuel consumption for a start, and lighter battery cars. But there are also many sectors, from railway carriages to wind turbines.

Williams believes a number of factors have retarded mass adoption of CFRP – mainly cost and time.

‘FOCUS ON ENERGY MANAGEMENT’

Car bodies made with carbon fibre are, Williams says, weigh half that of steel – unfortunately, they cost 20 times more. ”This has limited its application to vehicles that are low volume / high cost, or where the vehicle manufacturer subsidises the process.

Williams Advanced Engineering’s technical director, Paul McNamara, told The Corner: “We’re focusing on energy management, aerodynamics, thermodynamics and cutting weight. We’ve learned a lot from success in Formula 1 and Formula E but, behind closed doors, we’re solving problems for world-class companies across a wide range of sectors with some of the most highly-regarded manufacturers on next generation, low-carbon technology.”

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