Mazda Might Be Planning Its First Carbon Fiber Chassis

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Mazda likes to save weight wherever it can. Its flagship sports car, the MX-5 Miata, weighs under 2,400 pounds thanks to a strategy of shaving off the grams wherever possible. Eventually, more fundamental changes have to happen though, and it seems the Japanese automaker is looking into new materials for a possible upcoming product. 

A patent granted to the automaker just a few days ago goes into detail about the methods and processes it would use to build such a vehicle. It does not describe a specific car beyond the fact that it will have four doors. Sadly, this doesn’t appear to be a sports car if the automaker decides to produce it. Based on the included art, it could be a sedan.

Patent art isn’t always representative of a potential product, but the text of the document does describe four doors.

Mazda is likely looking into this technology to shed weight in the era of electrification. Other patents published recently by the automaker indicate it’s hard at work creating more hybrids and full EVs, both of which are typically heavier than pure ICE cars. One way to fight this extra mass is by removing it from the next-heaviest part of the car after the drivetrain, the body and chassis. 

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The automaker seems particularly interested in crossing carbon fiber laminations in different directions to create what it calls a “quasi-isotropic” material, aka one that is strong in every direction load is applied to it. It not only defines how it would create this material but also lays out several profiles it would use for different parts of the car. The roof-supporting pillars, frame rails, and crash bumpers are all shown to have different cross-sections.

With carbon weaves in different directions, Mazda hopes to create a composite that’s strong in multiple axes.

Based on the legal details of the document, Mazda will not be alone in developing this chassis. The patent was assigned to both the Japanese automaker as well as the Nippon Steel Chemical & Material Co., Ltd. In other words, it’s working with a partner who has experience developing carbon fiber structures. 

Needless to say, we don’t know when or if a carbon-chassis Mazda will ever hit the streets, but it’s always interesting to find out what an enthusiast-focused automaker like Mazda is researching behind the scenes. It could be one day soon that Mazda sells a hybrid or electric sedan that, thanks to a carbon frame, is considerably lighter than its competition. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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