CSP’s President Frank Macher: Light Weight is Automobile’s Irresistible Trend

CSP chairman Frank: Car lightweight is the trend of the times

The 21st entury economics news, journalist ho fang, intern Liutong, Tangshan reports.

CSP chairman Frank:Car lightweight is the trend of the times

(Reprinted) 21st Century Economics News, journalist Ho fang, intern Liu tong, Tangshan reports.


"I hope the Chinese government will vigorously promote automotive lightweight technology, because when emissions reductions and fuel economy are very urgent, lightweight will become inevitable." On October 12, Frank Macher, chairman of CSP Victall (Tangshan) structural composite materials co., LTD., said in an exclusive interview with the 21st century economics report.

The importance of lightweight vehicle technology is becoming more prominent.

On October 26th, the "Energy saving and new energy automotive technology roadmap" published, lightweight technology roadmap and fuel-efficient cars, electric cars and hybrid vehicles, fuel cell cars, smart cars and car manufacturing, power battery in parallel,  which formed the top-level design of the development of energy saving and new energy vehicles.

About lightweight technology, the technical route of target is very clear: by 2030, vehicle weight loss 35% compared to 2015.The use of high strength steel increases greatly. The amount of aluminum in the car exceeds 350kg. Magnesium alloy 45kg is used in each vehicle. Carbon fiber accounts for 5% of the car's weight.

So, in the context of China's vigorous development of new energy vehicles, what is the importance of automotive lightweight technology? In fact, the lightweight design of the automobile can not only reduce the fuel consumption, but also promote the overall improvement of comprehensive performance. More importantly, in the short term, the battery technology is difficult to achieve a major breakthrough, electric vehicles urgently need to adopt lightweight techniques to reduce weight to reduce the pressure on the battery.

Research shows that: In the urban areas, the average weight of 1600kg electric vehicle if the weight loss of 20%, energy consumption can be reduced by 15%.At present, there is not enough emphasis on the study of new energy vehicles in China. To this end, the Ministry of science and technology minister Wan Gang repeatedly stressed that: "lightweight" is one of the direction of China's electric vehicle development.

"I hope the Chinese government will vigorously promote automotive lightweight technology, because when emissions reductions and fuel economy are very urgent, lightweight will become inevitable.". On October 12, Frank Macher, chairman of CSP Victall (tangshan) structural composite materials co., LTD., said in an exclusive interview with the 21st century economics report.

Frank, former vice president of Ford Motor Co, Shanghai Yanfengwei Shitong project Ford team responsible person, 45 years working experience in automotive industry. Now, the structure (Continental Structural plastics company Plastics, hereinafter referred to as CSP) chairman and chief executive officer, long-term commitment to research and application of lightweight technology of automobile.

CSP is a dedicated lightweight body materials company, headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan in the United States, mainly to create a lightweight composite material for suppliers, production structure, a body panel assembly. In November 2014, CSP Victall and Qingdao Railway (Group) Co., Ltd. signed the agreement. Established in Hebei province, Tangshan, CSP Victall (Tangshan) composite material Co., Ltd., both holding 50%, Frank as chairman and chief executive officer. Through this joint venture, CSP will introduce advanced TCA materials to the Chinese market to help local enterprises achieve lightweight and emission targets.

At present, due to the explosion of China's electric vehicle market, Frank is not the only one to promote the automotive lightweight technology. They judge the future trend and bet on China's new energy automobile market. At the beginning of winter, Tangshan's factory was filled with sunshine, a white haired, gray beard.Frank,74, looks hale and hearty.  In the face of the 21st century economic reporter's question about the status and trends of the world and China's new energy vehicles, he gushed.

"More lose weight, more miles "

21st Century: you have been an executive of the Ford Motor Company in the United States, and you've been working on the introduction of lightweight technology for cars, and now you're building a light material joint venture in China. As chairman, what can your joint venture bring to the Chinese market?

Frank: first of all, our products should reflect the best technology. Secondly, our products should meet the future development trend. Third, our products must meet people's requirements for emissions and fuel economy.

Mention of emissions and fuel economy, we set up the joint venture company has the latest equipment, have the ability to do the raw materials, the research of new materials in the United States formula used in the joint venture company at the same time, can help Chinese automakers to improve competitiveness. Of course, in this process we also learn that the advantages of price and quality are not enough, and the technology must be at the leading level.

21st century: Why choose Qingdao Victall railway (group) as a partner?

Frank: We did a lot of research before making the choice. Understand the materials, processes and molds of our partners. It was very impressive when I was in contact with Victall, because they were involved in the railway, and we had a lot of similar products, including sheet metal, pressure mold, etc., and the collaboration was done.

In addition, during the investigation, we found that many main machinery factories and composite materials companies gathered here, and many of the main machines are very close to Tangshan, such as BAIC, Benz, BMW. Of course,as the business grows, new production bases are not ruled out, such as in Shanghai. Later, we will also expand to Changchun, Chongqing, Guangzhou and other very important automobile production bases.

21st century: What is the importance of light weight cars for electric vehicles?

Frank: in the United States, we are the supplier of the general Chevrolet Volt. We have a lot of experience to learn. In fact, the biggest challenge for electric vehicles is the range, which is directly related to the quality of the car, and the more you can lose weight, the more miles you can get. In addition, the heat management system of the battery reaches the optimal state, and the management of temperature is very important.

So, CSP has done a lot of work on the battery, and we use a lot of thermal management to make the battery perform better. Of course, we not only make electric cars, but also make traditional cars. For example, our company has just received an order for a part of A surface, and we will adopt our ultra light class A surface material, which can withstand very high temperature in the host plant. Such materials and products will be the first in china.

21st century: How to work with the Volt in the United States?

Frank: the Volt is general in the American market developed the first electric car, it is the protection of the battery condition is very demanding. First, the battery can accept mechanical collision, in the second place, there cannot be any leaks, and third, not influenced by the frequency of the mobile phones and other electronic products, fourth, fire prevention. Meet these conditions need a lot of technical support, later will have more technology into the joint venture company, like our sheet line, any a customer's needs are different, and we can according to customer requirements, and is the only one who can do this material.

The era of electric cars has come

21st century: At present, many international auto tycoon have made many preparations for the mass production of electric vehicles, such as the Volkswagen MEB platform and the 2025 strategy. What do you think about the impact of the Volkswagen diesel scandal on the global automotive industry?

Frank: the Volkswagen diesel scandal was a turning point. When it came to light, people finally realized that the diesel engine was limited, and the technology was over. It's like a game between industry. Volkswagen has been a leader in diesel engines, and other manufacturers are watching and competing with it. Now Volkswagen has determined the strategy of making electric cars more heavily, which has given a lot of engine factory courage to face the challenges of electric vehicles together.

At present, the German government has formed a draft, waiting for the final approval, after 2030, Germany no longer produces internal combustion engines. This is a huge push for the development of electric vehicles. Germany is the cradle of the internal-combustion engine, , and they have made a great change in this decision. I am also very shocked, of course, the challenge will be great.

TOYOTA was very successful in hybrid vehicles, selling a lot of mixed cars and profitable, which laid an important foundation for their future development of pure electric vehicles. On the other hand, the popularization of TOYOTA's hydrogen fuel vehicles still faces challenges such as hydrogenation stations.

21st century: What are your Suggestions for the development of electric vehicles in China?

Frank: Companies and governments need to talk openly. When deception occurs, it is usually the government's standard that is not required. Companies can cheat to meet the standards. Through American experience, I would like to emphasize that the government and enterprises should have a public dialogue first, and the government can set very strict standards that can be met. Secondly, the government should provide some stimulating programs and preferential policies in this process so that consumers can better realize the transition. Finally, the government should trust the main engine plant and inspect and test it so that the standard can be achieved better.

Of course, we also hope that the Chinese government will strongly advocate the light weight, because when the emission reduction and fuel economy is very urgent, the light quantification becomes inevitable. I think the new energy vehicles is the most important is the construction of infrastructure, the Chinese government is necessary, if there is no good foundation design, people will always worry about his driving electric cars from point A to point B.

(editor zhoukaiping)