General Motors has been busy investing in the future. We’ve previously detailed how the latest Omega platform will provide an outlet for larger vehicles, but also keep curb weights down substantially through a mixed material usage.
As the future warrants stricter fuel regulations, weight savings will become more important moving forward. That is why Continental Structural Plastics has been working closely with GM to introduce TCA Ultra Lite, the company’s latest body material. And it’s fitting to the 2016 C7 Corvette Stingray marks the first vehicle to ever utilize the material.
The Class A body panel composite passes all OEM paint and quality tests, and shaves 20-pounds from the 2016 C7 Stingray’s mass.
“In materials engineering, shaving a single pound per car is a significant accomplishment, so saving 20 pounds per car is monumental,” said Tadge Juechter, Corvette Chief Engineer. “This is a great example of how Chevrolet is continually looking for innovations that improve performance on Corvette, and could benefit possible future applications.”
The material offers the weight savings and benefits of aluminum, including superior finish quality, but offers reduced cost at volumes. For production volumes under 150,000, costs for composites can be as much as 50 to 70 percent less than those for stamping steel or aluminum.
As for the 2016 Corvette Stingray, the material has been used with no changes to the body panels’ thickness, and no re-tooling was required to implement the change.
It sounds like more TCA Ultra Lite may find its way to other GM vehicles someday after this successful application on a lower-volume car.