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The majority of instrument panel cross-car beams used by automakers on mass production vehicles are made of metal, which is a more affordable material. Although their weight has been lowered over the years, they remain relatively heavy, largely because of the numerous welding points.

October 28, 2014

1 Min Read
Hybrid cross car beam promises massive weight savings

The majority of instrument panel cross-car beams used by automakers on mass production vehicles are made of metal, which is a more affordable material. Although their weight has been lowered over the years, they remain relatively heavy, largely because of the numerous welding points.

crossbeam.jpgHybrid cross car beam is 43% lighter than metal equivalent; could debut in 2020.Other, lighter materials, such as aluminum and magnesium, are already being used by high-end manufacturers, but the costs involved are prohibitive for mass-production vehicles. As a result, French Tier 1 Faurecia has set out to produce lighter instrument panel cross-car beams that can meet the most stringent safety standards at an affordable cost. New manufacturing processes will make these new materials more cost-effective for mass production by 2020.

Faurecia teams are currently working on a cross car beam that comprises a composite material incorporating both glass fiber and carbon fiber. The result weighs just 3.6 kg, compared with 6.3 kg for a conventional metal cross car beam, providing a weight saving of 2.7 kg (a reduction of 43%). This “full-composite” cross-car beam is set to feature on mass-production models from 2020.

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