20 January 2006
20 January 2006
Accelerated Composites LLC has designed a lightweight composite two-seat passenger car that will achieve up to 330 MPG and sell for under $20,000. The hybrid car will post this fuel efficiency in normal city and highway driving and demonstrate acceleration and handling similar to that of a Honda Insight. Dubbed the Aptera, the vehicle achieves these remarkable numbers through the use of cutting-edge composite materials, manufacturing methods and design. Unique, optimized aerodynamics gives the Aptera a drag form factor that will be lower than any mass produced car in the world. ""It looks like nothing you've ever seen because it performs like nothing you've ever seen,"" says Accelerated Composites founder and CEO, Steve Fambro. ""What we've done is changed the way cars are thought of and designed. Rather than designing to a styling aesthetic, like the big auto makers do, we hew to an efficiency and safety aesthetic. When you do that, math and physics mostly dictate the shape of the car, and in this case, math and physics look awesome."" But aerodynamics is only half of the equation. The other half is weight. The Aptera is made almost entirely of lightweight composites, making it one of the lightest cars on the road. Yet this savings does not come at the cost of safety. In fact, the construction of the car is based on the driver-protection ""crash box"" found in Formula One race cars. ""Composites are enormously strong and lightweight,"" says Fambro. ""That's why all the aircraft manufacturers are switching to them."" The Aptera utilizes proprietary composite construction that is said to significantly lower manufacturing cost when compared to most other composite construction methods, and even steel. The patent-pending ""Panelized Automated Composite Construction,"" or PAC2, lends itself to parallel assembly and has a very low initial capitalization. ""We're very serious about this. We're going to produce and sell these cars,"" says Fambro. ""We've got a perfectly timed, market busting product. We have a great team of world class engineers and designers, high-powered marketing and sales experience, and a solid business plan.""
Toho Tenax is introducing a high-tensile, highly shock-resistant prepreg that incorporates carbon fibre developed for aerospace applications and carbon nanotubes (CNTs).
Thai Flight Training (TFT), a subsidiary of Thai Airways, recently ordered an Airbus A320 door trainer from Spatial Composite Solutions.
NTPT is collaborating with the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne - Swiss Centre of Technology (EPFL) and other partners to research discontinuous fibre composite tubes for high performance applications.