Archive for July, 2012

Vehicle Weight Reduction and Safety Concerns for meeting CAFE Standards

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

 In order to meet the new 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards of 54.5 mfg. set by the Federal Government, automakers will need to be more creative and innovative, because reducing safety to save gas isn’t the answer. 

Much of the advance in safety came as a result of increasing the weight of a car with bracing, chassis and bodywork that can absorb an impact.  “The industry is already using high-strength steel, aluminum and magnesium to cut weight and boost fuel efficiency in future vehicles to meet 2016 CAFE standards that call for an average fuel economy of 35.5 mpg,” says a Reuter’s news report.

Automakers are looking for new materials and techniques to make car safe, but much lighter.   FlexForm Technologies is answering the call for lighter weight materials that meet or surpass the performance requirements of the automotive industry.  FlexForm natural fiber composites are economical, light-weight and easy to process.  Natural fiber composites are on average 25% stronger than wood.  Current applications include door panels, package trays, seat backs, trunk liners, and pillars, to name a few. 

For further information regarding the use of natural fiber in a vehicle, to reduce weight, please visit to learn about molding the future with natural fiber composites


Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

The new Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standard is now official, and it’s aggressive. On July 29th, 2011 President Obama announced that the CAFE standard would increase from a target of 35.5 mpg in 2016 to 54.5 mpg by 2025.

It’s official. After a long and contentious battle, the government and automakers have settled on the new 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations that will begin taking effect in 2017.

At a ceremony today in Washington, D.C., President Obama announced that the new CAFE standards for vehicle fleets will be 54.5 mpg by 2025. The increase piggybacks Obama’s 2009 mandate for a CAFE average of 35.5 by 2016 and is the largest mandatory fuel economy increase in history. The standard is just shy of the 56.2 mpg average that the Obama administration was considering just a month ago (though not nearly as ambitious as the 62 mpg target the government floated at one time).

The ambitious new standards have encountered strong opposition from automakers, who suggest that the rules will mean large increases in cars’ sticker prices. But, as part of the announcement (where the CEOs of the Detroit big three and several foreign automakers were in attendance), Obama said that consumers would save an average of $8000 per vehicle in reduced fuel costs once the regulations are in full effect in 2025.

Make no mistake about it: The new regulations are hugely important. They will save consumers boatloads of money they would’ve spent on gas, drastically reduce American’s fuel consumption and carbon footprint and change the way cars are made. But, they present a major challenge to automakers, who must determine what technologies or combination of technologies will allow average fleet fuel economy to climb so high. They’ve got a lot of work to do.

Read more: Obama Announces 54.5 mpg CAFE Standard by 2025 – Popular Mechanics

Consider the use of natural fiber in a vehicle to reduce weight, visit to learn about vehicle weight reduction and molding the future with natural fiber composites.