Rivers Carbon has been involved in various automotive projects. We built a 2-seater chassis for the Toyota racing series in 2005. We cured chassis for the University of Auckland and University of Canterbury FSAE teams. We built four carbon fiber E-type chassis for a New Zealand scratch builder, a formula 5000 chassis built to the Formula 1 rules for an Australian customer and worked with a Korean car company on an electric vehicle chassis.
Due to the lower energy density of batteries compare to liquid fuels, range is the major problem for electric vehicles. Large parts of a cars chassis and panels can be produced in composites which will save a lot of weight that then can be put into batteries. Parts can be made a lot lighter however the issue is how to hit the sweet spot between weight saving and cost. Steel parts after tooling has been paid for are extremely cheap and fast to produce. Composites will therefore be the material of choice for high end solutions or extremely light eco and human powered vehicles
Carbon Fiber E-Type Jag
In 2017 we built the chassis and panels for a New Zealand scratch built E type. We did everything from the initial design through to manufacturing. The carbon fiber chassis is approximately half of the weight of the original chassis but has three times the torsional stiffness of the original steel chassis despite the sills being a lot smaller. The increase in the size of a 2017 seat compared to a 1960’s example reduced the amount of room left for the sill.
High Modulus carbon fibre was used in the sill to bring up the overall chassis stiffness again. The FEA frontal impact number before the chassis is damaged is 25G’s and the side impact is 5G’s. So well inside the scratch build rules. The pillars were investment cast in titanium. All of the modern XKR running gear, electrics and seats are fitted.
Formula 5000 Chassis
In 2016 we made a Formula 5000 chassis for the V8 super cars in Australia. The chassis needed to be built to the then current Formula One rules. We organized the chassis laminate design and built the tooling and chassis.
We imported dry Zylon cloth which complied with the side intrusion rules and then had it custom pre-pregged. The chassis was flown to Adelaide four weeks after we started. The engine, trans-axle and most of the other parts were from the V8 super cars series. The engine block had to be unstressed, so it was fitted into a sub-frame cradle.
Toyota Racing Series 2 seater
in 2005 we built a 2-seater chassis for the Toyota racing series. The car set a lap time during the weekend of the NZ Grand Prix that year that would have qualified on the grid.
The car was running the same engine, gearbox suspension and tires as the Toyota racing series cars. We had to import special low temperature carbon fiber prepreg so that we could make the modifications to the chassis in the autoclave.
Carbon Drag Racing Wheels
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