Development of Composite Body Panels for a Lightweight Vehicle
Recently weight reduction is increasingly needed in automotive industry to improve fuel efficiency and to meet a CO2 emission requirement. In this paper, we prepared composite body panels for the lightweight vehicle based on a small passenger car. Fender, roof, door, side outer panel, and tailgate are made from hand layup using a glass/carbon hybrid reinforcement. Hood is made from low pressure sheet molding compound (SMC) to investigate feasibility of mass production. Both hand layup and low pressure SMC materials are newly developed and their physical properties are examined. CAE simulation was done for strength analysis and optimization of thickness for the body panels.