Australia to develop world’s first one-piece carbon fibre automotive wheel

The world’s first one-piece carbon fibre automotive wheel will be developed in Australia, thanks to a $6.2 million grant that has been given to four local automotive manufacturers to develop ‘lightweight’ components.

CFusion, Toyoda Gosei Australia, Composite Materials Engineering and Hirotec will each receive a share of the $6.2 million grant, to develop components that will help consumers reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

The new developments will open-up opportunities for jobs, skills and new technologies in Australia.

“The components being developed to retool our automotive industry will help cars that are friendlier on the environment and the pocket — in this case, we expect the four projects will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around 133,000 tonnes and significantly reduce fuel consumption,” said Innovation Minister, Senator Kim Carr.

CFusion is using $1.4 million to commercialise the world’s first one-piece carbon fibre automotive wheel, at about half the weight of aluminium wheels.

Toyoda Gosei is using funding of over $2.3 million to introduce and refine technologies for manufacturing lighter components, namely body sealing products and safety system products, such as air bag modules and plastic interior trim products.

CME is using funding of $797,399 to develop a high strength, lightweight sandwich panel to be used in the load floor of Australian vehicles. This product will significantly reduce the weight of the load floor whilst meeting all of the performance requirements for this component.

Hirotec is using funding of over $1.6 million to produce lighter automotive components including aluminium hoods and deck lids using innovative product design to significantly reduce the overall weight of passenger motor vehicles.

The grants are part of the government’s $5.4 billion New Car Plan.

Holden Australia executive director manufacturing operations, Martyn Cray, announced at the Endeavour Awards ceremony in Melbourne recently that government grants are instrumental to Australia’s manufacturing future.

"Manufacturing needs support from the government. I’ve worked around the world, and governments all around the world support manufacturing – don’t let this government tell you anything different," he said.