Porsche Uses Natural Fibers for Lightweighting

By on September 28, 2019 in IN THE NEWS, MATERIAL MATTERS

Statistics show that new cars are becoming heavier, due, in part, to improved safety functions and more electronic equipment. Weight is an important factor for e-cars, since they require larger, heavier batteries to maximize range Therefore, new developments in lightweight design are a prerequisite for truly efficient e-cars.

Researchers at Fraunhofer WKI asked whether fibrous materials could replace lightweight steels and carbon fiber reinforced plastics to reduce component weight. They investigated various readily available ecological materials for their technical properties, availability and cost efficiency.

Natural fiber reinforced plastics were the answer. Vegetable fibers are a sustainable alternative for lightweight vehicle bodies. Economically speaking, renewable raw materials are beneficial because natural flax, hemp, wood and jute fibers are less expensive than carbon fibers and require less energy to manufacture. These arguments were convincing enough to Porsche. Joining forces with Porsche Motorsport, scientists at Fraunhofer WKI tested organic materials for series readiness under extreme conditions on a Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport.

The experience with the “Bioconcept-Car” was integrated in material development for the parts of the new 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport. And the Cayman is really lightweight, weighing in at less than 3,000 pounds.