NAA Member News: BAC, Haydale and Pentaxia Receive Niche Vehicle Network (NVN) Grant to Explore Graphene Use for Car Industry
Briggs Automotive Company (BAC) has received funding to undertake research on innovative, lightweight material graphene, with a view to pushing the technology towards production-readiness for the automotive industry…
The maker of the world’s only road-legal, single-seater supercar – the BAC Mono – received the Niche Vehicle Network (NVN) grant alongside Haydale Composite Solutions and Pentaxia Composites and will now further explore the benefits of using graphene in composite body panels. BAC will be the test bed for the technology and potentially the catalyst for larger-volume opportunities across the market.
BAC hit headlines when it famously became the first car manufacturer in the world to develop a graphene-panelled car in 2016, creating graphene-enhanced carbon fibre composite rear wheel arches for the Mono. The new venture will build on the success of this proof of concept project.
Graphene is made of sheets of carbon just one atom thick and is significantly lighter than standard carbon fibre. It’s also stronger than carbon fibre and steel, meaning that it can bring weight reductions of around 20% without hindering panel strength.
The NVN funding will enable BAC, Haydale and Pentaxia to develop lightweight composite materials using graphene and manufacture a novel carbon fibre composite tooling system with enhanced thermal conductivity – resulting in a new body panel system with improved mechanical and thermal performance.
The project aims to bring benefits in terms of weight reduction, CO2 emissions and manufacturing cycle times. Body panels will be installed and tested on the Mono supercar throughout the project, with the aim to reduce weight by 10% and cycle times by more than 25%.
A route to market will then be established for new prepreg material technology through niche vehicle manufacturers and the premium and luxury automotive sector – potentially resulting in a game-changing new material for the wider industry.
Neill Briggs, Co-Founder and Director of Product Development, said: “We are delighted to have received this Niche Vehicle Network funding and are excited to get started on this production-readiness project with our partners Haydale and Pentaxia. Niche vehicle manufacturers are of paramount importance in the automotive industry, acting as stepping stones for mass-market production technology – which is where we aim to place our graphene-enhanced composite body panels in the near future.”