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Lightweight, ability to recycle the material, stronger than steel, resists scratching, and can be painted in the same facility as the sheet-metal body. It is also much more stable when molding/forming.

Literally better in every category than the previous material.
And cost? Carbon fiber is really not used much for anything outside of very high-performance cars except as trim. Other materials that are better in every respect to carbon fiber, like graphene and carbon nanotubes, are also very expensive. Where the structural strength of CF is not required, even high-end automakers are using plain old aluminum instead. There's little to no weight penalty and it's so much easier to work with, on top of being much cheaper.
 

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And cost? Carbon fiber is really not used much for anything outside of very high-performance cars except as trim. Other materials that are better in every respect to carbon fiber, like graphene and carbon nanotubes, are also very expensive. Where the structural strength of CF is not required, even high-end automakers are using plain old aluminum instead. There's little to no weight penalty and it's so much easier to work with, on top of being much cheaper.
I don't know the exact details on cost, but I know it's about the same price point as the current composite products most auto manufacturers use. Aluminum is cheap compared to carbon fiber but is still expensive compared to steel or composites. It is incredibly hard to work with in a stamping press and it also shows roller markers when painted. It's a nightmare that most auto manufacturers try to stay away from. The process of creating aluminum is a highly toxic process that requires boatloads of electricity to create and the supply of aluminum is limited compared to steel.
 

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I don't know the exact details on cost, but I know it's about the same price point as the current composite products most auto manufacturers use. Aluminum is cheap compared to carbon fiber but is still expensive compared to steel or composites. It is incredibly hard to work with in a stamping press and it also shows roller markers when painted. It's a nightmare that most auto manufacturers try to stay away from. The process of creating aluminum is a highly toxic process that requires boatloads of electricity to create and the supply of aluminum is limited compared to steel.
And yet the Dart uses an aluminum hood that you could destroy by pressing too hard on it with one hand. Why do this when steel would have added an inconsequential amount of weight to a 3000+ pound car? It's going to be hard to move away from steel economically when we live on a giant rock made in large part of iron. It's a good general purpose material for something like cars, with all manner of variants suitable to different purposes. Its biggest drawback is probably that it suffers from fatigue that causes it to slowly fail under strain. I remember when I saw the CD4E 4-speed automatic transmission from my mother-in-law's transmission in pieces at the transmission shop. It only had 100,000 miles on it when it failed, and you didn't need to be a metallurgist to see why. Almost all of the steel parts had cracks and discoloration, and the band that had failed (which prevented engagement of 2nd and 4th gears) had snapped due to fatigue. It was so hilariously bad.
 

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And yet the Dart uses an aluminum hood that you could destroy by pressing too hard on it with one hand. Why do this when steel would have added an inconsequential amount of weight to a 3000+ pound car? It's going to be hard to move away from steel economically when we live on a giant rock made in large part of iron.
FCA needed anything and everything to get the weight down in the Dart for fuel economy regulations. Aluminum hood is an easy 20lb loss. That was the best option at the time when the Dart was produced. You can't just look at one component of the car and say it's inconsequential. Each component needs a weight loss, and at the end of the day you count everything saved. This is a principle of many Japanese companies, if you can improve each part of the vehicle by 1%....then you have succeeded. Apply that 1% principle to weight loss on vehicle.

The new material is a special composite blend that will replace steel in the future. That's why this news is so exciting. The entire vehicle could be made out of this material. In the beginning they will use it as inner or outer skins for doors/hoods/trunks. After that is tested, both outer and inner skins would be the same material and the weight savings would be incredible compared to a steel body car.

Right now the current composite parts are difficult to mold and must be painted in a separate facility than the rest of the steel(or aluminum) body parts. This is why body panels don't match visually(A few members on here pointed this out, especially the orange Darts). The new composite material can be painted in the same place, and baked in the same ovens. Cost savings will be great.
 

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FCA needed anything and everything to get the weight down in the Dart for fuel economy regulations. Aluminum hood is an easy 20lb loss. That was the best option at the time when the Dart was produced. You can't just look at one component of the car and say it's inconsequential. Each component needs a weight loss, and at the end of the day you count everything saved. This is a principle of many Japanese companies, if you can improve each part of the vehicle by 1%....then you have succeeded. Apply that 1% principle to weight loss on vehicle.

The new material is a special composite blend that will replace steel in the future. That's why this news is so exciting. The entire vehicle could be made out of this material. In the beginning they will use it as inner or outer skins for doors/hoods/trunks. After that is tested, both outer and inner skins would be the same material and the weight savings would be incredible compared to a steel body car.

Right now the current composite parts are difficult to mold and must be painted in a separate facility than the rest of the steel(or aluminum) body parts. This is why body panels don't match visually(A few members on here pointed this out, especially the orange Darts). The new composite material can be painted in the same place, and baked in the same ovens. Cost savings will be great.
FCA started by designing an excessively heavy car using far more steel than any of its contemporaries, and then attempted to cut some weight. And they missed obvious stuff that would have far more impact on fuel economy, like lightweight wheels. It has become obvious over the years that the Dart was built solely for the purpose of allowing Fiat to take full possession of Chrysler's assets. They built a good car that could have been an amazing car, and then they pretty much abandoned it once they got the green light to buy out Chrysler. It may have been for the best, because even a great car would have likely been doomed by changing consumer demand.

Anyway, I'm always up for new technologies, but I am always skeptical. It's just in my nature. This isn't the first time I've heard that new "product Y" would make "ubiquitous product X" obsolete, and it just doesn't happen very often.
 

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FCA started by designing an excessively heavy car using far more steel than any of its contemporaries, and then attempted to cut some weight. And they missed obvious stuff that would have far more impact on fuel economy, like lightweight wheels. It has become obvious over the years that the Dart was built solely for the purpose of allowing Fiat to take full possession of Chrysler's assets. They built a good car that could have been an amazing car, and then they pretty much abandoned it once they got the green light to buy out Chrysler. It may have been for the best, because even a great car would have likely been doomed by changing consumer demand.

Anyway, I'm always up for new technologies, but I am always skeptical. It's just in my nature. This isn't the first time I've heard that new "product Y" would make "ubiquitous product X" obsolete, and it just doesn't happen very often.
I've been in this industry for about 10 years now and this is the first real breakthrough I have seen in that time period so I understand what you mean.

I love my Dart, I'm just pissed off that FCA cheaped out on many simple parts. I'm waiting for the day my shifter bushing fails and leaves me stranded. I should probably buy the replacement part online before that happens. I'm only at 64k so I still have alot of life left before I move on to the next platform. Most likely a pickup truck.
 

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The wife turned in her Journey lease and now has a Ram 1500 crew cab. Pretty nice truck overall, has the towing package and a few other odds n ends. 40 month lease, about $300 a month because we waited too long on the initial rebates.

There is already 5 inches of snow in Northern Michigan, so I will be using this truck for deer hunting season next week! No way in hell would the Dart on all-seasons make it, let alone snow tires.
 

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@dad's dart, fire up your engines....it's about to become Sunday morning drive EVERYDAY.
He hasn't logged in for 6 months now. But hey, my morning commute got a lot shorter today for at least the next 3 weeks: however far it is from the coffee pot in the kitchen to my sea of monitors in the basement. It's just too bad a pandemic is needed for me to have the ideal situation of not having to leave the house and interacting with actual people in person.
 

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He hasn't logged in for 6 months now. But hey, my morning commute got a lot shorter today for at least the next 3 weeks: however far it is from the coffee pot in the kitchen to my sea of monitors in the basement. It's just too bad a pandemic is needed for me to have the ideal situation of not having to leave the house and interacting with actual people in person.
Yea, I am starting to worry about him. Usually he was on here every other day, despite not owning a Dart anymore.
 
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