The Case for Composites

Tony Norton, Senior Director, Global Automotive at Altair Engineering 

As noted by my colleague Giuseppe Resta in the last automotive blog post, there was justified fanfare for the BMW “i” brand, yet elsewhere in Frankfurt you could see that steel was not going to go away fast. The production version of the Volkswagen up! was said to be 13 percent lighter than the vehicle it replaced (VW Fox). VW pointed to engine downsizing, high strength steel and component optimization as the keys enablers of this. High-strength and ultra-high-strength steels make up 56.5 percent of the vehicle’s construction and achieve class-leading torsional rigidity. With facts like that, what are the compelling reasons to consider structural composites in the short term?

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