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The car body can be made of fabric

AmericaThe lighter the bodywork, the lower the fuel consumption, and the fabric is one of the materials to be considered for the future.

Replacing the metal body panels with much thinner and lighter fabric could be a game changer. However, this idea is not new.

The history of the aviation industry has never recorded, during World War I, aircraft were covered with fabric over the body of laminated wood. Lightweight construction but strong enough for the fighter to function as usual, though easily burned.

This special material can be used in electric cars today. Fabric will be used to cover the wireframe to create the bonnet (where there is no internal combustion engine), bumper, door, and trunk.

BMW Gina 2008 concept with waterproof fabric covering the frame. Image: Pinterest

The fabric exterior not only reduces EVs by tens to hundreds of kilograms, but can also reduce both material and manufacturing costs, leading to a drop in electric vehicle prices. Fabrics also make the automotive industry less likely to use steel and aluminum, meaning that there is no need for complicated and costly steps, such as stamping, painting, or rust-proofing.

Fabrics also offer another benefit: fashion. If a new exterior color is needed, the owner simply buys a new fabric instead of painting the whole car. Dirty cloth, just wash it.

The latest application is the BMW Gina concept, launched in 2008. The Gina is a sports car with a two-seater convertible from the Chris Bangle era and took seven years to develop.

Gina uses a waterproof fabric manufactured by outdoor clothing company Jack Wolfskin. The fabric used on the car is called the Texapore Softshell, a very light material specially designed to help light penetrate the interior.

The 3-wheel Velorex also uses fabric as the body.  Photo: Flickr

The 3-wheel Velorex also uses fabric as the body. Image: Flickr

Before a long time, the Velorex was a small 3-wheeled car produced in Solnice, Czech Republic, from the 1950s to 1971 stood out from the crowd because the bodywork was made of a material that was only used in the interior. The author of the product is two Stransky brothers, who own a bicycle repair shop.

Application is now up to the designers, inventors, and technologies. There are many other challenging factors for materials, especially fabrics, if used for the body of the vehicle: fire retardant, or its ability to absorb a crash in the event of an accident. But the benefits this material offers may lead to its applicability in practice.

America – England (according to the Motor1)


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