With the introduction of the 2023 Corvette Z06, comes the option of single-piece carbon fiber wheels – the first for Corvette and the first time GM has offered a carbon fiber wheel on a mass-produced vehicle.
The press release from Carbon Revolution below spotlights some of the technology that went into the design and engineering of these wheels:
Carbon Revolution sells 50,000th wheel
Milestone carbon fibre wheel to outfit Chevrolet Corvette Z06
03 March 2022
Carbon Revolution has celebrated the sale of its 50,000th single-piece carbon fibre automotive wheel, with the wheel rolling off the line at the Waurn Ponds, Victoria factory. The 50,000th wheel, destined to be fitted to the rear of a Corvette Z06, is the most recent wheel Carbon Revolution launched into production.
Carbon Revolution CEO, Jake Dingle, said the milestone underscored Carbon Revolution’s scale and progress to disruption of the automotive wheel market with its unparalleled lightweight technology.
“Reaching this number is only just the beginning for us. We are scaling up even further as we commission our Mega-Line and sign on new OEM programs,” Dingle said.
Scale without peer
Already, Carbon Revolution’s scale is unparalleled among carbon fibre automotive wheel manufacturers. After developing and commercialising its lightweight wheel technology, Carbon Revolution focused on industrialisation to further increase its scale.
Through use of Industry 4.0 technology, Carbon Revolution has evolved the production process of its wheels to move from a bespoke, handmade process to a highly-automated one governed by big data and machine learning.
Commercialising complex carbon fibre products
Carbon Revolution was founded in 2007 with the purpose of bringing disruptive efficiency technology to all vehicles. The company offered its first single-piece carbon fibre wheels to the public in 2009. In this time, the design for the wheels – a critical safety part of a vehicle – had been iterated many times over to become one of the world’s most complex carbon fibre products.
OEM programs followed, as car companies sought to take advantage of the wheels’ superior performance, efficiency and signature styling. Working with OEMs presented new requirements for safety, performance and durability, which have all been met or exceeded by Carbon Revolution.
Along the way, the challenges of creating such complex carbon fibre products – and manufacturing them at scale – has seen Carbon Revolution recruit and develop an array of talented and experienced staff, and file multiple patents to protect its innovations.
The next milestones
With increasing OEM volume commitments, the next 50,000 Carbon Revolution wheels will be sold at an exponentially greater rate than the first 50,000.
Carbon Revolution currently has six programs in production with three global OEMs – Ford, Ferrari and General Motors – with a further nine programs in development, including four which are for electric vehicles (EVs).
These new programs will see the company move from the performance space to supplying wheels for higher volume vehicles, including SUVs and pickup trucks, bringing lightweight carbon fibre wheel technology to a broader cross-section of the automotive space.
The rollout of EVs is driving demand, with OEM customers looking to benefit from the 40-50% weight savings of carbon fibre (over aluminium wheel equivalents) delivering range extension on their EVs. Current programs in development for EV platforms will harness Carbon Revolution’s carbon fibre wheel technology not only to increase vehicle range, but also to improve aerodynamics, provide differentiated designs, and reduce noise, vibration and harshness.
Carbon Revolution Design and Engineering Director, Dr Ashley Denmead said the company continues to innovate and is using digital technology, AI and automation to scale its operations and meet this demand, and to further enhance the sustainable production of its wheels.
“Using Industry 4.0 technology, we are iterating the factory at a pace which would have been unimaginable even 10 years ago. We’ve been able to redesign our Mega-Line virtually, before it’s even been built, saving us considerable time and cost in having to move or reorganise physical parts of the factory when they’re operating,” Dr Denmead said.
The 50,000th wheel
Carbon Revolution’s 50,000th wheel sold (pictured above) is a rear wheel for a 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06. Measuring at 21” x 13”, it is the company’s largest wheel to enter production and its first five-spoke design.
The wheel, first revealed to the public with the Z06 in October 2021, is the result of a five-year collaboration between GM and Carbon Revolution designers and engineers.
“While this Corvette wheel represents a milestone for Carbon Revolution, we are exceptionally proud of all the OEM wheels we have produced to-date for Ford, Ferrari, Renault and General Motors,” Dingle said.
Source: Carbon Revolution