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More Weight Savings for Better Performance

06.18.16 - 2017 Chevrolet Camaro

It appears every automaker is after a way to continually improve the performance of their sports cars and in some ways even their luxury vehicles. One way that has become popular is to find ways to lower the overall weight of vehicles by using stiffer and stronger materials that are also lighter. This has been made possible with the advancements made in lightweight aluminum and super strong steel. Another material that is being used to make parts stiffer and stronger is carbon fiber which can be used to make parts much stronger and much lighter to give the weight savings that automakers are looking for.

While we have seen many of the body parts made from carbon fiber on sports cars one area that has not been touched by this material as readily is the wheel area of many cars. There are some cars that do ride on carbon fiber wheels but as the newest use of this material not every automaker has actually followed this path yet. Ford already has carbon fiber wheels for the GT and Mustang Shelby GT350R which should give you the idea that their direct competitor, GM, would follow suit soon.

GM will use the same Australian company, Carbon Revolution that Ford uses to produce their carbon fiber wheels. The plan is to put these wheels on the V-Series of the Cadillac models as well as the Camaro and Corvette. These four models will give GM the weight savings they want to enjoy on the performance models that will be on the market for the next several years. The expectation is that adding carbon fiber wheels will reduce the weight by 35 pounds per vehicle to give these cars the added stiffness and driving performance to allow the cars to be able to use the horsepower form under the hood even better than before.

While 35 pounds doesn’t sound like much, taking this weight out of one area of the cars to give even the slightest advantage will certainly help. This may give GM the idea to use carbon fiber in other areas of their vehicles to continually lose weight and add performance. This weight savings will make for stiffer wheels that have lower rotational mass. Before adding these wheels to the performance models from GM they are looking at ways to learn how the wheels will wear down and if repairs can be anticipated by using this lighter material.

Most of the time we see carbon fiber causing cars to be more expensive than before, but GM says adding these wheels may bring the cost of the vehicles down in a few years. This anticipation of cost savings is expected as more automakers use carbon fiber for their wheels. This means we will not only get to enjoy lower weight, added performance and an eventual drop in price for the performance models from GM, giving them a leg up in the performance world and a set of wheels that match up well with the ones used for the Ford performance models.

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