Cost is clearly the most significant challenge to overcome for composites to be more widely deployed in high-volume vehicles, according to respondents to an online poll posted on Automotive Engineering International Online in late December. Sixty-one percent of the 41 respondents, voting from 14 nations, selected cost as the greatest inhibitor to widespread composites usage in autos.
Repairability was selected as the next most significant challenge, with 17% of the vote, followed by manufacturing/assembly (12%) and durability/performance (10%). The supply chain for composite materials evidently is not a major concern among the respondents; it did not receive a single vote.
Cost was chosen even more convincingly as the top challenge, at 68%, among the 22 U.S. respondents, who comprised over half of the total vote. (India was the next most represented country with just over 7% of the vote.) Repairability again was second, with 23% of the U.S. tally, followed by durability/performance at 9%.
Interestingly, manufacturing/assembly was not selected by the U.S. contingent; all five of the votes for the category came from outside North America (one each from Denmark, Great Britain, and South Africa, and two from Turkey). Repairability, on the other hand, appears to be a greater concern in the U.S., with five of the seven total votes coming from the States.
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