According to a story first reported by Motor1.com, Hyundai has filed a patent to develop its next-generation cars with a front chassis structure made with CFRP.
The patent describes using CFRP to form the cross member for the cowl – the portion of the body that separates the passenger compartment from the engine bay – and the body pillars of a vehicle. Generally, an automaker would use steel or aluminum for these parts to ensure strength. The company would braid the two CFRP parts together, which integrates so that there’s better structural rigidity. To make the CFRP components even stronger, Hyundai might form the parts so that they have a polygonal cross-section, rather than a simpler, rectangular shape.
In addition to making these body structures out of CFRP, Hyundai’s patent also describes making the entire cowl panel out of the lightweight material. The various, individual pieces would be braided together for improved rigidity. Braiding carbon fiber allows automakers to merge multiple pieces of the lightweight material into a single component. Back in August, Porsche unveiled it is using a similar technique to manufacture wheels for its 911 Turbo S. Porsche says this technique makes the material structure of the carbon considerably denser and more compact, which increases rigidity. Using the material more efficiently also produces less waste.
The use of CFRP could greatly help Hyundai’s new N-Performance brand to reduce weight and increase performance in the likes of the upcoming Hyundai i20 N which would help them take on the hot hatchbacks from other manufacturers.
To see the full patent, click here.