Japan firms to develop carbon fibre cars - Nikkei
TOKYO, July 24 (Reuters) - Nissan Motor Co. (7201.T: Quote, Profile, Research), Honda Motor Co. (7267.T: Quote, Profile, Research) and Toray Industries (3402.T: Quote, Profile, Research) will join hands to develop a new carbon fibre material for auto bodies, the Nikkei business daily reported on Thursday.
The companies, along with textile firms Mitsubishi Rayon (3404.T: Quote, Profile, Research) and Toyobo (3101.T: Quote, Profile, Research), aim to be able to mass produce the material by mid-2010s and to make vehicles 40 percent lighter than steel-use cars, the newspaper said.
The Japanese government is also helping the project in the hopes of staying ahead of the global race to develop eco-friendly vehicles. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry plans to provide 2 billion yen ($18.5 million) for the project over five years, it said.
One of the issues is the high price of carbon fibre, but it is expected that the cost gap between carbon fibre and steel will narrow over time as steel prices continue to rise, it said.
The use of carbon fibre will also likely improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent, the paper said.
Plastic parts maker Takagi Seiko Corp (4242.Q: Quote, Profile, Research) and researchers from the University of Tokyo are also participating in the project, it said. ($1=107.93 Yen) (Reporting by Sachi Izumi, Editing by Jacqueline Wong)