AUG 2016


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AUGUST 2016 6 CompositesWorld Fig. 1 Auto industry opportunities forecast The autocomposites market is expected to grow to US$6.3 billion in 2021, with a compound average growth rate (CAGR) of 17%. Source | Lucintel COMPOSITES: PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE » Carbon fiber has emerged as one of the promising options as automakers work hard to reduce vehicle weight to meet US corpo- rate average fuel economy (CAFE) and European Union (EU) carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) gas emission requirements. As more carbon composites are used for automotive applications, the future of the composites industry looks bright. Most important, the global carbon composites industry is about to enter a period of wide- ranging and transformative change, as demands continue to shift and environmental regulations tighten. Companies that want to have long-term growth need to develop strategies that respond to this critical trend without delay. is article offers a perspective on what needs to be done to grow the potential of carbon composites in the auto industry. It is based on many discussions and interviews with original equipment manu- facturers (OEMs) and composite parts fabricators across various end-use applications in the automotive market. In fiscal year 2015, worldwide demand for carbon composite products in the automotive industry — roof panels, body frame, closure panels and more — reached a value of US$2.4 billion. e market is expected to grow to US$6.3 billion in 2021, with a compound average growth rate (CAGR) of 17% (see Fig. 1). is growth in global carbon composites will be due largely to strong demand for carbon fiber-reinforced plastics (CFRP) in luxury cars, race cars and other high-performance cars. Government regulation of fuel efficiency and stringent policies concerning CO 2 emissions are putting pressure on OEMs to make their vehicles lighter without compromising occupant safety. For example, by 2020 it will be necessary in the EU to restrict vehicle CO 2 emissions to 95 g/km. e current regu- latory threshold is about 132.2 g/km. Simi- larly, in the US, CAFE regulation dictates an OEM's car and light-truck fleet-wide average fuel efficiency be 54.5 miles per gallon or equivalent (mpge), or 23.1 km/L, by 2025. e current average is about 28 mpge (11.6 km/L). is challenge has opened an opportunity for the development of stronger and lighter automo- tive equipment and spare parts. When Lucintel spoke to engineers at automotive OEMs about lightweighting requirements, they responded that they are required to develop automotive struc- tural parts with 50% weight-saving potential. Due to this, they are looking into lightweight materials, such as advanced high-strength steel (AHSS, steel with tensile strength that exceeds 780 MPa), aluminum, magnesium and CFRP for their product design. Of all the material options, only CFRP offers the potential for weight savings greater than 50%. For that reason, this advanced material is receiving great attention. Currently, most major automakers, such as BMW, Mercedes, Ford and GM, are focusing on incorpo- rating CFRP in mass-volume cars as a means to meet the stringent government guidelines. Perhaps the biggest trend in the automotive industry is the development of transformative technologies and material systems to make carbon fiber parts for mass-volume vehicles. e future will not play out the same way for every segment of the automotive industry or type of application or type of material, so suppliers need to develop suitable strategies and a road map to drive success in their business. ere is greater need for innovations to increase the adoption of carbon composites. e usage of carbon composites is still evolving. Because end-users seek more value for their money, superior quality and increased safety, the composites industry will be forced to deliver the desired output as customers demand shifts. When Lucintel spoke to automotive OEMs about the opportunities related to carbon fiber usage, all responded that they see carbon fiber as one of the most promising weight-saving materials, but they are faced with many challenges in using it. e following are four key challenges that the carbon composites industry need to address to get a bigger piece of future growth and profitability — all of them related to per-part cost. • Fiber cost reduction: Reduction in the price of raw carbon fiber is critical to making CFRP parts competitive with Of all the material options, only CFRP offers the potential for weight savings greater than 50%. How to win in carbon composites for the automotive market Global Carbon Composites End Product Market Forecast in Automotive Industry (2015-2021) (US$Bn) Amount in US$ Billion 2015 2021 $2.4 $6.3 +17.5%

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