TPI Composites has been awarded a US$3m grant by the US Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) through the 2015 Vehicle Technologies Programme to design, develop and demonstrate an ultra-light hybrid composite door.  

TPI will be leading a team of industry and academic participants with knowledge in vehicle design and composite materials, including Creative Foam Corporation, Hexion, KraussMaffei, SAERTEX USA, LLC, Centre for Composite Materials at the University of Delaware and an unnamed global automotive OEM.

"We are excited about the opportunity to design, develop and validate the materials and manufacturing technologies that can transition lightweight structural composites into the high volume automotive mainstream," said TPI Composites CEO & president, Steve Lockard.

Part of the challenge of widespread composite adoption in automotive applications is the ability for composite structures to achieve both cost targets and high volume production rates. 

The ultra-light composite door programme will be designed to meet structural, safety and NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) performance goals while addressing cycle time and cost constraints. 

While the programme is focused on the door, the material systems and manufacturing processes could be applied to other areas of the vehicle including the chassis and body structure.