That is a very good article. I think that writer is correct that we will be seeing more applications for these composite bed materials. It seems to be a logical step in the evolution of trucks.
He has an interesting point concerning the "Big Three" and their reliance on steel (and their slowness to adopt other materials). The Japanese automakers are not fettered by such a legacy infrastructure. It gives them the freedom to explore alternatives. I still wonder why the plastic body panels that Saturn uses are not more prevalent throughout the industry.
The writer also mentions that at the current time, the composite materials are more expensive then their steel counterparts. I wonder if that contributes in some way to the sticker price of the Ridgeline.
I would say "slow" is the keyword. It isn't as if each of the Big 3 hasn't already invented every idea in vehicles today but it seems like they don't spend the time to refine it. It reminds me of the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" mentality. Also, it could be that this is the attitude that the public has come to expect from them. Since putting the Ridgeline poster up on my wall at work, all the negative comments come from people who own full size pickups. The best one comes from a person who drives a 6 mpg V10: "my truck provides maximum towing and hauling capacity IN CASE I ever need it". 'nuff said.
That is an interesting article. I wonder when we will see an automobile manufacturer use composite for wheels? It would be lighter and stonger I think, and should last a lot longer. I just watched a show last week on building the Airbus A380, on the tail section is composite material.
They're already using composite materials for carwheels. For motorcycles, it's been around for years; cars just getting there recently. There's a couple of drawbacks with composite wheels: if they break, the're junk, can't fix it and very expensive to produce them. Therefore it's only been used in racing.