In his 2003 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush, requested $1.2 billion in spending on hydrogen-powered cars. This month, the Obama administration announced that U.S. Energy Department funding for hydrogen-related projects would be cut by 60 percent to $68.2 million next fiscal year. That concurs with what I felt was the overall consensus at a seminar on hydrogen power at last fall’s Society of Manufacturing Engineer’s annual conference. The remaining federal funding will focus on hydrogen power for buildings. ”We’re going to be moving away from hydrogen-fuel cells for vehicles,” Energy Secretary Steven Chu said. “We asked ourselves, is it likely in the next 10 or 15, or even 20 years that we will convert to a hydrogen car economy? The answer, we felt, was no.”
Like it or not, the Obama administration is making tough calls, and picking its shots. The federal government will boost funding for biofuels by 8.3 percent to $235 million and for advanced battery-powered and gasoline engine autos by 22 percent to $333.3 million.
Meanwhile, Honda, General Motors and Toyota Motor plan to continue development of hydrogen-powered autos
BMW has already incorporated more than 10,000 3D-printed parts in the Rolls-Royce Phantom and intends to expand the use of 3D printing in its cars even more in the future. Meanwhile, Daimler has started using additive manufacturing for producing spare parts in Mercedes-Benz Trucks.
SABIC's lightweighting polycarbonate glazing materials have appeared for the first time in a production car: the rear quarter window of Toyota's special edition 86 GRMN sports car, where they're saving 50% of its weight compared to conventional glass.
Design engineers play a big role in selecting both suppliers and materials for their designs. Our most recent Design News Materials Survey says they continue to be highly involved, in some ways even more than the last time we asked to peek inside their cubicles.
Daihatsu is one of the first carmakers to customize car exteriors using 3D printing's mass customization capabilities. Effect Skins -- small exterior bumper and fender panels in different colors and textures -- can be ordered for its Copen convertible.
Several new products in this group of new adhesives, coatings, and sealants are formulated to protect sensitive electronic components, or to seal components of commercial and military aircraft. Others are designed to operate in tough, messy, dirty oil & gas operations, or for rotary applications and motors.
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