Thirty years ago the Lamborghini Countach Quattrovalvole was the first vehicle to use carbon fiber from the Italian supercar brand. Every model since then used more of the lightweight material than the last, according to the company. Lambo recently celebrated its innovations in weight savings and looked toward the future at an event called “Excellence in Carbon Fiber” at the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery in Tokyo, Japan.
The country is a fitting place for the party because Lambo now has a memorandum of understanding with Mitsubishi Rayon Company for developing future carbon fiber innovations. The companies aim to create a method of automating large scale production of carbon fiber reinforced plastic. Japan is also an important source for the raw materials that go into the stuff.
Earlier this year, Lambo took another major step towards the next advancement in the lightweight material when it opened a new research site for the Advanced Composite Structures Laboratory in Seattle, Washington. Previously, the lab was responsible for Forged Composite, which made carbon fiber easier to sculpt into structural parts. The automaker also partnered with Boeing there.
The supercar maker’s next goal is to make carbon engine parts, particularly connecting rods, for production vehicles. The result potentially would be a component that’s lighter and stronger than a metal version of same thing. A breakthrough could mean quicker revving, more powerful engines in future models.
Limited-edition models like the Sesto Elemento and Centenario already show Lamborghini’s talent in forming carbon fiber into beautiful shapes. Both vehicles use the lightweight material extensively, including for their bodies and chassis. Even slightly less exclusive Lambos like the Aventador Superveloce are making increasing use of the weight-saving stuff. At this rate, it seems possible that even the standard editions of the brand’s supercars could be almost entirely carbon fiber someday.
Gallery: Lamborghini opens carbon fiber exhibit in Tokyo
AUTOMOBILI LAMBORGHINI CELEBRATES “EXCELLENCE IN CARBON FIBER” IN TOKYO
Sant’Agata Bolognese/Tokyo, 16 September 2016 - Automobili Lamborghini celebrates the opening of “Excellence in Carbon Fiber”, an exclusive event dedicated to its carbon fiber technologies, at Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery in Tokyo, Japan.
Over the past 30 years, Lamborghini has been an industry leader in both the development and implementation of advanced lightweight materials. From the Countach to the Huracán, not a single series-produced Lamborghini came to life with less carbon fiber than its predecessor.
Since Japan is the producer of the majority of carbon fiber raw material currently available on the market, Lamborghini’s Research & Development has collaborated with Japanese Industries in composite development from 2008. Among last years, several missions by Japanese organizations and companies have visited both, the Advanced Composite Research Center (ACRC) in Italy and the Advanced Composite Structures Laboratory (ACSL) in the United States, recognizing Lamborghini competence in carbon fiber.
“We are delighted to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Lamborghini’s use of carbon fiber, with the opening of “Excellence in Carbon Fiber” in Japan. Carbon fiber is a material that Lamborghini has a long history with. It is one of the most important keys to our cars’ success in the past, the present and the future,” said Stefano Domenicali, Automobili Lamborghini Chief Executive Officer.
The event was attended by the Italian Ambassador S.E. Dr. Domenico Giorgi, who commented: “Japan is an important market in the development and production of carbon fiber. The long experience of Automobili Lamborghini in the use of composite materials, and its collaboration with leading Japanese companies have led to the development of significant innovations in this area. This combination is one of the key aspects in the field of scientific and technological relations between the two countries and is therefore a source of great pride for both Italy and Japan.”
Automobili Lamborghini and Mitsubishi Rayon Co.,Ltd. have agreed a co-operation under the project title ‘CFRP Press Technologies and Processes Automation’, and will work together to further develop higher levels of manufacturing automation that are more suitable for larger scale production, with great advantages in process stability. The event ended with a Memorandum of Understanding which was signed between Stefano Domenicali, Automobili Lamborghini Chief Executive Officer and Dr. Hitoshi Ochi, the President of Mitsubishi Rayon Co.,Ltd.
“By continuing to develop our patented Forged Composite materials, we are able to create a product that can enhance Lamborghini super sports cars in both their performance and their appearance. The ability to leverage this kind of lightweight material gives Lamborghini a competitive advantage that will benefit our cars, as well as the production process, in the future,” said Maurizio Reggiani, Automobili Lamborghini Board Member for Research & Development.
Lamborghini debuted the latest car to showcase its mastery of carbon fiber during the 2016 Geneva motor show. The Centenario, which was on display for the exclusive event in Tokyo, is available in a body made of fully exposed carbon fiber. Marking what would have been company founder Ferruccio Lamborghini’s 100th birthday, the Centenario is a marriage between acknowledgements of past milestones and technological “firsts”. Appropriately, it is only available in a very limited production run of 20 coupes and 20 Roadsters.