It's been generally accepted that the next generation of full-size GM trucks will use some sort of strong, lightweight material for the beds while retaining steel for the cab. While aluminum seems like the most obvious choice, according to Automotive News, the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra will incorporate both aluminum and carbon fiber in their beds. The publication cites sources from within GM, though it seems the introduction of this comparatively exotic material mix is still a few years off.
While carbon fiber is both stronger and lighter than steel and aluminum, it takes significantly more time and money to produce, essentially relegating the material to small-volume cars. The main benefit for trucks is the resulting reduction in weight to improve fuel economy without sacrificing the tough, rugged capabilities truck buyers expect. The Ford F-150 made the switch to aluminum for the 2015 model year and it's proved highly successful. It seemed like it was only a matter of time before the competition followed suit.
Automotive News says that the next-gen trucks will launch with aluminum beds and that it will take a couple of years before we'll see any carbon fiber incorporated into the design. Even then, only look for the composite material on higher-trim models, with a trickle down to lower-spec trucks possible further in the future.
In 2011, GM announced it was working with Japan-based Teijin Limited on a carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic. There's a good chance that material's introduction will be on trucks.
Next-gen Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra may use carbon fiber originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 07 Dec 2017 12:40:00 EST.