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Carbon fibers lighten loads

04/04/2010
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The Asahi Shimbun, 1 April 2010

Chemical maker Teijin Ltd. on Tuesday unveiled its latest lightweight PU_PA electric vehicle built with carbon-fiber materials developed by the company. The two-seater weighs in at just 437 kilograms, about half that of rival electric vehicles. Carbon fiber, at one-fifth the weight of steel but 10 times stronger, is used for the vehicle body. Special plastics are used for the windows. Adding air conditioning and other extras would raise the total weight of a PU_PA car to about 550 kg. Its price is a hefty 80 million yen ($865,000). About 80 percent of the concept car is made with Teijin materials. It can travel about 100 kilometers on a single battery charge and, when equipped with safety features such as air bags, can be used on the street. The company aims to provide carbon materials to other carmakers, significantly widening the market within five to 10 years.

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