At the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, the Honda Ridgeline won North American Truck of the Year award. The 2017 Ridgeline, which made its debut in Detroit last year, was one of a number of vehicles on displayed that featured composites. Others included the 725hp Rocket from VLF Automotive and the debut of the Mercedes-AMG F1 hypercar.
A big part of the Ridgeline’s success is its truck bed made with sheet molded composites, which has by itself won a number of awards, including one of the Awards for Composites Excellence at CAMX 2016. Ashland also won the Material Innovation Award at the 2016 Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition (ACCE) trade show. Torque News has also called it the bed the “toughest in the industry.”
At CAMX, Laura Gigas, Ashland senior product manager, transportation, said it is the first time the exterior of a vehicle has a weatherable product. She notes that Ashland’s SMC is much less likely to corrode than a steel alternative. “In the past, [exterior parts] had to be painted,” Gigas explained. “This was [the] first time we’ve been able to produce parts that are not in need of paint and they won’t lose their gloss.”
The benefits of a composite floor bed include dent and corrosion resistance. According to Ashland, weatherable SMC parts retain gloss and color despite years of direct exposure to sun, salt, rain and snow. The Arotran 805 resin system provides a molded-in black color that eliminates the need for paint.
Want to see composites in action on the Ridgeline? Check out the video below: