Lexus LFA Carbon Fiber Leads to Future Possibilities


LFA Carbon Fiber Experience Leads to Future Possibilities

Ward’s Auto has published an article summarizing Lexus LFA project manager and vehicle materials expert Nobuya Kawamura’s recent presentation at the JEC Composite exposition in Paris, France.

Kawamura talked about the “never-ending process” of the supercar’s carbon fiber development, which ultimately led to Lexus engineers learning multiple techniques for producing several types of the material, including a switch from thermoset resins to thermoplastic resins (the former can be cured once, the latter can be remolded multiple times), which resulted in increased automation and reduced labor costs. As a result, the LFA is 65% carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP), with the remainder largely aluminum.

With the weight savings and unique structural design possibilities offered by carbon fiber (the exterior LFA shell includes design features, such as body pillars, that are only possible through the use of CFRP), it seems likely that such exotic materials will find their way into Lexus models, perhaps starting with the F-marque lineup (maybe with the long-rumored GS F?), or even F-Sport type parts. The future avenues seem quite exciting, to say the least.

[Source: Ward’s Auto]

Comments


Comments


  1. I can’t get over how beautiful carbon fiber with clear coating is. Those people name calling people with exposed carbon fiber as dou***bags are just jealous.

    I’m just surprised that it takes carbon fiber to make some of the LFA’s body panels. Hopefully, Lexus did thorough research for feasibility and is not making reports just for attention. The lithium supply, for example, is vastly available only in Bolvia, and Bolivia is considerably closer to America than Iraq is, both physically and mentally. A Bolivia-Venezuela alliance would be a complete nightmare for American consumers with their proactive government.

    I didn’t read the article yet, so can someone help me answer this question: will we ever be able to treat carbon fiber the same way as we treat aluminum like American cheese?

  2. Out of curiosity, if Lexus had begun carbon fiber research from the start of the LFA project, would the pricetag have been considerably cheaper? Heck, even the exterior and interior designs might have been considerably different.

  3. @WorldofLuxury: Given that this presentation was at a specialized technical conference, I tend to think that this revelation of future CFRP applications is not for show, but rather something a Ward’s reporter made a story out of following conference attendance. 

    As for the cost of CFRP, I get the sense that the project would be cheaper if they stayed at aluminum, the cost of carbon fiber remains high and difficult to use, especially considering rival models that do not use it.

  4. Aluminum would have been cheaper, but Toyota doesn’t take the cheap way out. Carbon Fiber also is lighter and more rigid. Their choice was easy to make in that sense, but the cost and development time were the downside. But they made a hell of a car. And of course this technology with CFRP will trickle down to other models.

  5. I don’t quite get Lexus. With all the subtle details, why don’t they place the rear view camera in the middle?