Graphene for Car Industry

By on November 14, 2018 in IN THE NEWS, MATERIAL MATTERS

Briggs Automotive Company (BAC) received funding to undertake research on the innovative, lightweight material, graphene, with the intent of pushing the technology toward production readiness for the automotive industry.

The maker of the world’s only road-legal, single-seater supercar—the BAC Mono (above)—received the Niche Vehicle Network (NVN) grant alongside Haydale Composite Solutions and Pentaxia Composites.

BAC will explore the benefits of using graphene in composite body panels. BAC became the world’s first car manufacturer to develop a graphene-paneled car in 2016, creating graphene-enhanced carbon fiber composite rear-wheel arches for Mono. The new venture will build on the success of this proof-of-concept project.

Graphene is made of sheets of carbon just one atom thick and is significantly lighter than standard carbon fiber. It’s also stronger than carbon fiber and steel, meaning it can bring weight reductions of around 20 percent without hindering panel strength.

The project aims to achieve benefits in terms of weight reduction, CO2 emissions and manufacturing cycle times. Body panels will be installed and tested on the Mono supercar throughout the project, with the objective of reducing weight by 10 percent and cycles times by more than 25 percent.

A route to market will then be established through niche vehicle manufacturers and the premium and luxury automotive sector.

Neill Briggs, BAC co-founder and director of product development, said, “Niche vehicle manufacturers are of paramount importance in the automotive industry, acting as steppingstones for mass-market production technology.”