Earlier today, General Motors invited media to have a listen to the automaker’s latest strategy on how it’s adding lightness to its vehicles. In doing so, performance and mileage can both be improved, while offsetting an estimated 137,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions into the air. Very quickly, it becomes clear how much of a priority it has become to lose the mass in everything from GM’s performance vehicles, to its mass-production crossovers and SUVs. So far, GM has cut an average of 300 lbs per new vehicle in comparison to the ones they replace.
After sorting through a few slides showing how current products like the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro, 2016 Chevrolet Malibu, 2016 Cadillac CT6 and more have shaved pounds, the presentation offered a few notable pieces of information.
One of those was the incoming introduction of carbon fiber wheels. Yes, much like the carbon fiber composite wheels found on the Ford Shelby GT350R. The same supplier (Australia’s own Carbon Revolution), in fact. However, GM made a point to note its application of carbon fiber wheels will not be reserved only for track or performance vehicles – like its competitors. It wants carbon fiber wheels to be viable for the perils of road use, as well.
Why would General Motors want to invest in carbon fiber wheels? Foremost, they’re much lighter, and shave additional weight from any vehicle. On average, GM states a carbon fiber wheel would save 16 kilograms (35 lbs) per vehicle compared to aluminum wheels.
Along with the reductions in unsprung and rotational mass, vehicle dynamics also benefits from the structural stiffness of carbon fiber. Not to mention, they’re also surprisingly resistant to damage growth from potholes, and other road debris. Though GM claims that further evaluation is required before anything is made official.
You may or may not have read this news elsewhere, but here’s our exclusive scoop: Subject matter experts at hand stated to us that GM is working closely with Carbon Revolution to both improve the integrity of these cutting-edge wheels, while also finding ways to further reduce their weight. GM also hopes to spread the costs of a carbon fiber composite wheel option by increasing the volume of vehicles they will be offered on. There are hints that GM could be working to get its own unique wheel designs from Carbon Revolution, as well.