Development of a Cost Competitive, Composite Intensive, Body-in-White 2002-01-1905
The Automotive Composites Consortium has initiated the third of a series of focal projects, which is a multi-year program to develop a design and manufacturing strategy for a composite intensive body-in-white (BIW) with aggressive mass reduction, manufacturing cycle time, and cost parity targets. Specifically, the BIW is to exhibit 60% minimum mass savings over the conventional steel baseline, contain the same package space as the baseline, meet or exceed the structural performance, and have cost parity to the baseline in volumes exceeding 100,000 per annum. The Department of Energy's Office of Advanced Automotive Technology provided most of the funding for this project. A design study was undertaken to evaluate whether the mass savings are feasible - utilizing carbon-fiber composites - without sacrificing structural performance. The design was conducted with consideration to cost-effective composites manufacturing processes that are under development. This paper will present objectives of this focused program, results of the design study, and a discussion of the technical challenges that will be addressed during the remainder of the program.