Forecast report on automotive composites market
Visiongain has published Automotive Composites Market Forecast 2014-2024, which looks at the usage of composite materials to meet the goals of reduced weight, improved fuel efficiency and reduction in emissions. Factors holding back the market now are explored and prospects for the future are examined in relation to end-use applications, material types, geographical area and the main companies involved.
Driven by success
Tesla Motors' share price soared by 15%, giving it a valuation half that of General Motors. An analyst forecast that the company would recharge the energy industry by building a $5bn 'gigafactory' in the American south-west to make low-cost lithium-ion batteries to help smooth fluctuations in renewable power.
The Economist, 1st March 2014, p.7
UK proves it's no lightweight in the automotive materials market
With UK auto manufacturers needing to reduce costs while still meeting environmental targets, lightweighting has assumed greater importance. There is also a need to increase the recycled content of components. Luxus believes that it has achieved both objectives with its latest lightweight polymer, Hycolene. This new product has been engineered to give a weight saving of 10-12% per part while also offering improved scratch resistance compared to the talc-filled alternatives on the market. Hycolene is being trialled by a number of automotive manufacturers and should be of interest to the luxury end of the market since it places a much greater emphasis on the recycled content of the parts that it adopts.
British Plastics and Rubber, Jan./Feb. 2014, pp.28-29.
Toyota wants to help Calif. build the hydrogen highway
Reports that Toyota is aiming to produce a reasonably priced hydrogen fuel-cell car with a 300-mile range and zero emissions that can be refuelled in three to five minutes. Notes that the car could also act as a back-up residential power source. Toyota and other car manufacturers regard California as the initial target market for fuel-cell cars. The company is collaborating with the University of California's Irvine's Advanced Power and Engineering programme to map out locations and spatial distribution of hydrogen fuelling stations, but it is unclear whether it will be funding the construction of these stations. Currently the are only 10 working hydrogen fuel-cell stations in the state with another 19 under development.
Engineering News-Record, vol. 272, no. 2, 20 Jan. 2014. p.10.
AVL says no to lithium sulphur
Development firm AVL believes that lithium-sulphur battery technology is unlikely to be used in automotive applications and that the industry is more likely to move directly to lithium-air systems. While energy density in lithium sulphur batteries is far greater that even the most advanced lithium-ion chemistries, with a theoretical limit of 2,500Wh/kg, the technology suffers from inferior cycle lives. Lithium ion cells can be cycled many thousands of times, allowing them to last for the full life of a vehicle, but at present lithium-sulphur batteries will only last for about 400 cycles.
Automotive Engineer, Jan./Feb. 2014. p.4.
Audi will put laser headlights into series production in 2015
Reports that Audi is to introduce its laser diode lighting technology to a production vehicle next year. The technology will increase the range of the vehicle's high-beam to 500m, improving safety at high speeds. The first application will be used on the company's R18 Le Mans racing car, before being integrated into a series production vehicle in 2015. The laser diodes used by Audi emit a monochromatic light with a wavelength of 450 nanometres. The natural colour of the light is blue, but engineers have integrated a phosphor-coated film in front of the diode to convert it into a white light suitable for automotive applications.
Automotive Engineer, Jan./Feb. 2014. p.4.
Compacted graphite iron
With the introduction of diesel commonrail systems in the 1990s, specific engine power increased considerably from around 35kW/litre to more than 50kW/litre. This posed a challenge for powertrain engineers because conventional materials such as grey iron and aluminium were reaching the limits of their durability in engine block applications. However, compacted graphite iron has 75% more tensile strength than traditional materials, and is also 40% stiffer and twice as durable. Its strength comes from shorter and thicker graphite particles than are found in grey iron. This allows engine blocks to be produced without increasing wall thickness and, importantly, weight. However, producing CGI brings challenges. Steve Dawson, chief executive of Sintercast, the first firm to develop a casting process for making CGI suitable for mass production, explains some of these.
Automotive Engineer, Jan./Feb. 2014. p.9.
Reports on the third generation Mazda3 which focuses on ride comfort, handling, safety, performance and emotional design. Higher grades of steel have been used throughout the vehicle body: 780MPa now accounts for 9% of the structure, while 980MPa is used for the first time in the side sill reinforcement. 1,800MPa ultra-high strength steel reinforces the front and rear bumpers. All of this reduces weight, making load transitions smoother when cornering. Handling has been improved by changes to the steering. A fully electric power-assisted system has been introduced, saving 2kg compared to the former vehicle's electro-hydraulic technology. The vehicle also contains a sophisticated infotainment system which reduces driver distraction.
Automotive Engineer, Jan./Feb. 2014. pp.10-11.
Putting everything on the table
Next-generation batteries could replace lithium ion technology in electric vehicles, but much R&D work needs to be undertaken first. Experts from Matthey Battery Systems, Ford Aachen and Oxis Energy give their insights on the pros and cons of lithium-sulphur chemistries. Notes that the automotive industry is interested in these batteries primarily due to the significant reduction in weight that they offer. By using a lighter technology, more batteries can be carried and so the vehicle range can be increased.
Automotive Engineer, Jan./Feb. 2014. pp.36-39.
UK: seasoned British auto exec to head Vauxhall
Tim Tozer will become chairman and managing director of General Motors Europe's UK unit Vauxhall Motors and CEO of Opel Ireland on 24 February. The appointment follows the departure of Duncan Aldred to become head Buick-GMC sales, service and marketing in Detroit. Briton Tozer has held senior management positions within the motor industry across Europe. Most recently he was CEO of Autobinck Holding in The Hague while previous roles have included president and CEO of Mitsubishi Motors Europe, managing director of Mazda UK and regional director of Inchcape Motors. He also briefly headed Chrysler France. Tozer began his auto career at the Rover Group where roles included European fleet sales manager and overseeing Far East and Australasian exports. (Item contains no further information.)
www.just-auto.com. 19 Feb. 2014.
Dacia: the no frills automotive brand, that is becoming a serious world contender
Details a new report from MarketLine which explores the company's history and how it developed, including what its product range was. Also covers the modern range including the Sandero and Duster and what markets these particular products are aimed at cracking. Then considers the business model of the Dacia brand and how it has been rolled out so quickly, easily and cheaply. Examines are some of the main competitors in the area that Dacia operates and where some of the main threats might come from. Finally, analyses whether the company is likely to continue to succeed or whether it may experience problems that could hold it back.
www.just-auto.com. 19 Feb. 2014.
Ford 3D-printed auto parts save millions, boost quality
Ford says that it has been 'at the forefront of 3D printing for 25 years and was involved with the invention of 3D printing in the 1980s'. And it is now using the technology to produce prototype parts, shaving months off the development time for individual components used in all its vehicles, such as cylinder heads, intake manifolds and air vents. The development of the engine cover for the all-new Ford Mustang is the most recent example of the company's use of 3D printing technology. With traditional methods, an engineer would create a computer model of an intake manifold - the most complicated engine part - and wait about four months for one prototype at a cost of $500,000. With 3D printing, Ford can print the same part in four days, including multiple iterations and with no tooling limits - at a cost of $3,000, according to a report it released in December. Ford now is looking to what's next in its 3D printing strategy, including opportunities to print production parts in metal, rather than just plastic, for prototypes.
www.plasticstoday.com Automotive/Mobility, 14 Feb. 2014. http://tinyurl.com/pzpwzkz
Tier I looks to bio solutions for car interiors
US company Magna International and Italian intellectual property company bio-on have signed a cooperation agreement to start exclusive R&D activities on the use of bio plastics for the automotive industry. bio-on has developed a synthetic route to polyhydroxyalkanoate that uses naturally occurring bacteria which feed off sugar beet by-products. In the process of fermentation, the material is turned PHA plastic which is fully biodegradable in water and soil and could provide alternatives to conventional plastics for the automotive industry. Magna, through its interiors operating unit, is pairing its automotive know-how with bio-on's chemical expertise to research how production of this natural polyester product can be elevated to an industrial, cost-effective scale. Additionally, the two companies will test and evaluate how bio-on bio plastics will perform in different standard industry processes such as thermoforming. Magna Interiors will utilise its facility in Liberec, Czech Republic, for joint testing.
www.plasticstoday.com Automotive/Mobility, 12 Feb. 2014.
UK: Vauxhall reiterates goal of overtaking Ford
A Vauxhall spokesman has said that the GM Europe division remains committed to outgoing CEO Duncan Aldred's goal of outselling Ford of Britain in passenger cars 'by 2016'. During a media preview event for the facelifted Meriva, the spokesman also reminded journalists the brand outsold Ford during December. The totals were 21,302 and 19,496 in the final month of 2013 but Ford regained the lead in January, outselling Vauxhall by a large margin: 21,792 versus 14,892. What Vauxhall now terms 'The One Plan' was a statement originally made by its former CEO in September 2013. Aldred, who will shortly take up a role in Detroit as head of Buick-GMC, claimed last year that he expected the company to be Britain's number one passenger vehicle brand 'just after the middle of the decade'. New powertrains, fresh vehicle designs, more focus on retail sales and an ongoing overhaul of the dealership network were cited. Vauxhall is already the top selling car brand in Scotland and Northern Ireland, but taking into account commercial vehicle sales, Ford remains way ahead of all rivals in the UK.
www.just-auto.com. 20 Feb. 2014.
ANALYSIS: Europe's under water car market growing again
Data from the European Automobile manufacturers Association shows that the EU's car market grew by 5.5% in January. Positive territory will be welcome across the region, but analysts note that the market remains far from 'fixed'. In January 2014, demand for new passenger cars in the EU increased for the fifth consecutive month, with a rise of 5.5% over last year. However, ACEA notes that in absolute figures, the total of 935,640 units registered marked the second lowest result to date for a month of January since ACEA began the series in 2003 with the enlarged EU. Car sales in Europe may be turning up, but the upturn is coming off a low base. In January, most EU markets posted growth, as did all the major ones, from +7.6% in the UK and Spain, to +7.2% in Germany, +3.2% in Italy and +0.5% in France. LMC analyst Jonathon Poskitt said January's growth was encouraging, but needs to be seen in perspective. Carlos da Silva at IHS Automotive also expresses caution on the immediate outlook. Recovery in Western Europe looks set to be a long haul. Nevertheless, the market is in positive growth territory again. Long-term structural problems remain, but analysts say that 2015 could see an acceleration to demand if Europe's economy avoids further reversal and financial instability.
www.just-auto.com. 20 Feb. 2014.
US/GERMANY: Johnson Controls to sell interiors unit to private equity firm
Johnson Controls plans to sell a division making interior parts to private equity firm Atlas Holdings by 30 April. A JCI said: 'Johnson Controls signed a legally binding offer to sell its headliner and sun visor business to an affiliate of Atlas Holdings. This pertains to the company’s operations that support these products in North America and Europe'. The Milwaukee Sentinel noted that the company had sold off the product lines of its automotive electronics business in pieces and was expected to sell its non-seating automotive parts businesses this year, in divestitures that some analysts have said could raise about $500M. The report said the company wants to sell low-margin automotive interiors products and focus on higher-profit items like seats.
www.just-auto.com. 21 Feb. 2014.
Tesla: the Californian start-up that made head way on the automotive giants
Details a new report from MarketLine which shows why Tesla's share price has grown and who are some of the major investors in the company, including information on the CEO. Also shows how an electric vehicle from Tesla compares with a similar petrol powered vehicle. Asks whether recent fires in Tesla vehicles represent a major problem for the company and examines how likely the company is to continue to be successful.
www.just-auto.com. Issue 713, 24 Feb. 2014.
Automotive Composites Market Forecast 2014-2024
Says that growth in the Automotive Composites Market is mainly driven by four factors: the constant demand for fuel efficient vehicles, mainly to reduce weight; environmental regulations for low CO2 emissions and fuel efficiency in the EU and the US; the increased demand for electric and hybrid vehicles in which composites' usage for light-weighting is essential; and the introduction of new models with more varied and extensive usage of composites in the period 2015-2020. Assesses that the reduction of Automotive Composites' price due to higher volume and economies of scale, the introduction of recycling and repairing processes from the increased engineering experience, accompanied by the improvement of the economic climate, which will enable further investments in the Automotive Composites, will enable growth drivers to overcome the effect of the opposed restraints. Adds that towards the end of the forecast period the penetration of Automotive Composites, such as carbon fibre, into medium and low-end vehicles will increase substantially, driven by the higher volume production of light-weight composite materials and the proliferation of composite components into the vehicle's body, interior, engine and drivetrain.
ASDReports.com Feb. 2014. http://tinyurl.com/kr6v4hj
US/JAPAN: Panasonic eyes Tesla battery plant investment - report
Sources have said that Panasonic is considering investment in a US car battery plant planned by Tesla Motors and could spend around ¥100bn. The factory, expected to start production in 2017, is part of Tesla's blueprint for a more affordable electric vehicle and would be the first major, integrated US facility producing battery cells for electric cars. Tesla has given some initial hints about plans for a lithium-ion battery plant, or 'giga factory', that would likely include Panasonic and other suppliers as partners, and said that further details would be announced later. Tesla declined to comment to Reuters. Panasonic, the car maker's primary supplier of lithium-ion batteries, said it wanted to expand its cooperation with Tesla but declined to comment further.
www.just-auto.com. 26 Feb. 2014.
February 2014 management briefing: auto industry mega-trends
Considers some of the big strategic drivers for the global automotive industry. In particular, argues that the shift of global demand to emerging markets and the growth of 'mega-platforms' will reinforce auto industry scale economies - favouring the bigger groups. Says that Volkswagen, a company with plenty of experience of platform engineering across its major brands, is taking a significant lead in the megaplatforms field with the 'MQB' modular toolkit. Notes that manufacturers have long sought to build (or assemble from knocked down kits) vehicles in places where they sell in significant quantities. The strategy works on many levels, but a major initial driver is to avoid tariffs on built-up vehicle imports.
www.just-auto.com. 25 Feb. 2014.
UK: new Honda Europe chief named
Honda Europe will have a new chief from 1 April. Toshiaki Mikoshiba will become Honda Motor's European regional managing operating officer and president of Honda Motor Europe. He will replaces Manabu Nishimae, who, following three years in the role, takes up a new position in Japan, as managing operating officer, Honda Motor. Honda will expand its power equipment and motorcycle range and launching four significant new cars - including the redesigned Jazz - in the region during 2015. Mikoshiba joined Honda in 1980 and has held a number of senior automotive and sales roles. He has served as president of Honda Russia and most recently, since 2011, as president of the Guangqi Honda Automobile joint venture in China. (Item contains no further information.)
www.just-auto.com. 25 Feb. 2014.
BELGIUM: EU sets new emissions target
The European Parliament has voted through the world's toughest carbon dioxide standards for new cars, setting a limit of 95g per kilometre as an average across all new cars sold in the EU, compared with an existing limit of 130g/km. The new limit will come into effect in 2020, although full implementation has been delayed for a year following lobbying by Germany on behalf of its premium car makers which will find the new rules extremely challenging. EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard that the industry needed planning certainty and the commission would be working over the coming months on 'ideas for a post-2020 target'. (Item contains no further information.)
www.just-auto.com. 27 Feb. 2014.
INDIA: Tata faces up to problems at home
The Nikkei Asian Review has reported that Tata is struggling with its domestic sales strategy in India following the death in January of its managing director, Karl Slym. Slym, a former General Motors' executive, was recruited by Tata in 2012 to revive sales in its home market. He died following a fall from his hotel room in Bangkok in what police there believe was suicide. Tata Group chief Cyrus Mistry has taken the helm for the meantime and he now has to put together a new management team. Tata’s sales in India fell 38% on the year in the 10 months through January, to 169,371 vehicles, noted the Review. Although India's overall car market dropped by 6% in that period, Tata suffered the steepest sales decline among major players. Since the $2,000 Nano, aimed at attracting people from two-wheelers into four, flopped after its 2009 launch, the company has struggled to connect with Indian consumers.
www.just-auto.com. 27 Feb. 2014.
BRAZIL: Honda opens R&D centre
Honda Automóveis do Brasil has opened its new research and development centre in Sumaré following a spend of BRL100M. The unit develops models to meet the needs of the Brazilian market and works on localisation of components and technologies. It began operations with approximately 300 employees who work in engineering, purchasing and research and development. Honda has had an assembly plant in Brazil since 1997 and, since 2008, when it began producing engines in Brazil, the company already had laboratories for engine tests in Sumaré. In this expansion, a new laboratory was built and equipped with two chassis dynamometers and pollutants emissions system. The equipment will contribute to the development of components, engines and transmission systems, besides conducting durability test, emissions and consumption measurement. Honda is betting on the realignment of its business in Brazil to accelerate the development, production and marketing of new products with more competitive prices for Brazilian buyers.
www.just-auto.com. 28 Feb. 2014.
JAPAN: Nissan develops 'smart rearview mirror'
Nissan says it has developed a 'smart rearview mirror', the world's first LCD monitor that also allows the driver to switch between the LCD monitor and the traditional rearview mirror. Nissan will unveil the new mirror system at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show and is planning to introduce it to global markets in 2015. The plan is to offer the product as a dealer option this spring in the Japanese market. The mirror has a built-in LCD monitor that can be activated in place of the conventional mirror. A high-resolution camera mounted on the rear of the vehicle provides the driver with a clear unobstructed view of the rear flanks, allowing the ability to check blind spots and other traffic conditions. An additional feature of the mirror is the versatile switch function. Operated by a control located at the bottom of the mirror, the driver can utilise the traditional rearview mirror system, or with a simple flip of a switch, gain an unobstructed rearward view behind the vehicle embedded on the LCD display. Nissan says the new mirror provides a wider and clearer view when compared to a standard mirror. The LCD monitor provides unobstructed images of the rear flanks, making traditional obstructions associated with traditional rearview mirrors, such as C-pillars, a non-issue, it is claimed.
www.just-auto.com. 28 Feb. 2014.
GERMANY: New reality for Europe means past market level 'no longer feasible' - Ford
Roelant de Waard, VP of Marketing and Sales for Ford of Europe, has said that changing demographics and continuing weak economies mean that for many years to come, European carmakers will be faced with a European car market almost a fifth below pre-crisis norms. He outlined what he termed 'Europe's new reality' and Ford's response to it in an article for investor magazine Seeking Alpha. De Waard noted that recent market decline has taken its toll mainly in the older, more established markets of Western Europe, with countries such as Italy, Spain and France seeing significant reductions in total vehicle sales. However, he said that Ford has seen sales growth in Russia, Turkey and Eastern Europe and that these markets present a significant opportunity for profitability, with sales growth in a 'greater Europe' region of approximately 20% to 'something close to 23 million in the coming years'. De Waard noted that in 2013, Ford's third- and fourth-largest sales markets in Europe were Turkey and Russia, and that many analysts still expect Russia to overtake Germany as Europe's largest national car market within the next few years.
www.just-auto.com. 27 Feb. 2014.
Crash tests show India's cars are unsafe
The first-ever independent crash tests of some of India's popular small cars have shown a high-risk of life threatening injuries in road crashes. All the cars selected by Global NCAP for testing in a frontal impact at 64km/h received zero-star adult protection ratings. The models tested included India's best-selling car, the Suzuki-Maruti Alto 800. The Tata Nano, Ford Figo, Hyundai i10 and Volkswagen Polo also underwent the safety assessment. Combined sales of these five cars account for around 20% of all the new cars sold in India last year. Global NCAP chose the entry-level version of each model and as a result none were fitted with air bags as standard. The results highlight major differences in the structural integrity of the vehicles tested. In the Suzuki-Maruti Alto 800, the Tata Nano and the Hyundai i10, the vehicle structures proved inadequate and collapsed to varying degrees, resulting in high risks of life-threatening injuries to the occupants. The extent of the structural weaknesses in these models were such that fitting airbags would not be effective in reducing the risk of serious injury. The Ford Figo and Volkswagen Polo had structures that remained stable - and, therefore, with airbags fitted, protection for the driver and front passenger would be much improved.
Sensors Weekly, 7 Feb. 2014. http://tinyurl.com/pfdsagh
Walmart uses CFRP to boost efficiency
Walmart has revealed its Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience (WAVE) concept truck at its recent Sustainability Milestone Meeting. With its hybrid diesel-electric powertrain fitting completely under the cab, the WAVE can take advantage of a more triangular, aerodynamic body shape. The WAVE truck’s batteries and electric motor are coupled with a diesel microturbine by Capstone Turbine Corporation. Its C30 (30 kW) and C65 (65 kW) 'range extender' turbogenerators — which can also use natural gas, biodiesel or aviation fuel (Avgas) — fire up after EV batteries reach a set stage of discharge, recharging the batteries and extending driving range up to 500 miles, depending on the type and size of vehicle. WAVE’s trailer, built by Great Dane Trailers, is made almost exclusively with carbon fibre, saving around 4,000 pounds, which can then be used to carry more freight.
CompositesWorld Extra, 27 Feb. 2014. http://tinyurl.com/kgh5yhg
Eight OSVs from Brazilian shipyards
The executive board of Brazilian state oil group Petrobras has approved the ordering of eight support vessels from Brazilian yards to expand its offshore activities. The new vessels are part of the company’s third fleet renewal plan for offshore support vessels called the Prorefam programme. In this fifth round, four vessels were contracted from the company Bram, which will build the vessels at the Navship shipyard in Santa Catarina state in Brazil; three from Starnav, with construction planned for the Detroit shipyard, also in Santa Catarina; and one from Norskan, which will use the STX (Vard) shipyard in Rio de Janeiro state. Prorefam was launched in 2008 and contains plans to order 146 vessels in total, over seven rounds. The local Brazilian content required for the construction phase is 50% for anchor handling and tug supply (AHTS) vessels and 60% for platform supply vessels and also for oil spill response vessels. Additionally, proposals for the sixth round of contracts were received by Petrobras on February 4, and are currently undergoing technical review. The seventh round will be launched in March and the respective contracts would be signed in the second half of this year. (Item contains no further information.)
www.shipandoffshore.net. 14 Feb. 2014. http://tinyurl.com/p7wlp3b
No items this week
FRA revises defective rail and rail inspection standards
Revisions to the US Track Safety Standards, issued by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), are to take effect on 25th March 2014. Changes to 213.113 (defective rails) tighten and clarify the remedial actions following the identification of rail defects; 213.119(h)(7)(ii) joint bar fracture reports have been removed; 213.237 (inspection of rail) has been augmented to require rail companies to comply with a particular service failure rate through internal rail inspections; 213.238 (qualified operator) has been added detailing the qualification of personnel operating the rail defect detection equipment; and 213.241 (inspection records) now requires the start and stop points for internal rail inspection, defect size and remedial action taken to be recorded.
Railway Track and Structures, 20 Feb.2014. http://tinyurl.com/krzp4ex