Beth, the description of the material is a lightweight leather replacement with a feel and drape similar to leather. Personally, I'm not fond of synthetic clothing material, but many people are. And fashion is, well, fashion.
The original Mr. Lamborghini who started the car company made his fortune manufacturing tractors. From the wikipedia article, it doesn't sound like his family was wealthy, but he wasn't working his way up from the slums; they grew grapes, a suitably aristocratic occupation.
Remember that although Lambo is a relatvely 'small' company, they are owned by Volkswagen, probably the world's biggest automaker. If this carbon upholstery concept is as durable and light weight as it would seem, I could see where eventually it could be feasable for mainstream use, where the economy of scale might make it cost effective. Reducing overall automobile weight is the single cheapest way to improve fuel economy.
re: " It is interesting that a car company, with volumes this low, should have a composites research center."
I don't find that exceptional at all. When you are selling a product that is at least one to two orders of magnitude greater than the typical product in that category, it is very understandable that there would be some "pennies" left over for some investigatory work.
Don't lose sight of the fact that a typical "oil change" for a FERRARI, LAMBORGHINI, etc. is over $1000. That's a lot of oil changes down at your local SPEEDY-LUBE!!!!!
re: "It seems that many non-US sports car companies are run by, or were at least begun by, members of the upper classes, at least in England and Italy, as expensive hobbies."
I MAY BE way off base, but do I detect a note of either sarcasm, elitist envy, or jealosy in that statement? IF any of the above are true, I would ask you the trite question, ' when was the last time you got a job from a poor person?'
Every day of my working career I thanked GOD that the owner of the company that I worked for HAD his yachts, his fancy autos, his vacation houses, etc. IF it were for their fortitude, persistence, & plain old "guts", I would not have had the successful career that I had.
Ann, I'm curious why they chose to use carbon fiber on upholstery, center console, instrument panel, and inner door panel. I understand the weight advantages of carbon fibers on the chassis and exterior, but it seems like there would be a big cost penalty. What's the advantage?
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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