Hyundai drives material innovations with Toray

South Korean car manufacturer Hyundai has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Japanese chemical company Toray Industries. The goal of the cooperation is to drive forward material innovations as part of the Hyundai Motor Group's electrification strategy.

Image: Hyundai

According to Hyundai, the focus is on developing lightweight and high-strength materials for future vehicles. Using components made from carbon fibre-reinforced plastics (CFRP) will improve the performance of electric cars – and thus support Hyundai’s long-term electrification strategy to “enhance customer experience and ensure vehicle safety”.

Hyundai describes Toray Industries as a specialist in fibres, high-performance chemicals, carbon fibre composites, environmental engineering and life sciences. The Japanese company is already active in electric mobility – together with LG Chem, Toray operates a joint venture based in Hungary for the production of battery separator films. However, Hyundai is not interested in battery components, but in lightweight body construction with carbon fibre parts.

Carbon fibre composites are light, very stable, and characterised by their heat resistance. However, their manufacturing process makes fibre composites much more complex to produce than metal materials. For this reason, the use of carbon fibres – apart from individual projects such as the BMW i3 – has not yet become established in large-scale production. Only in more expensive sports cars are certain parts made from the material. Hyundai has not communicated any specific innovation or development goals of the cooperation.

“Toray Industries has developed innovative technology and materials focusing on electrification and sustainability to address the needs of customers in the constantly evolving automotive industry,” said Toray President Mitsuo Ohya. “We are happy to partner with Hyundai Motor Group to continue this innovation.”

“Hyundai Motor Group aims to leverage this strategic partnership to strengthen its position as a global leader in mobility solutions,” said Hyundai President Chang Song. “By combining our automotive expertise with Toray Group’s material technology prowess, we aim to become the first mover and gain a competitive edge in the global market.”


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