What does the car of the future look like? G+BOARD, a newly launched Spearhead Project by the Graphene Flagship, believes it will include a unique graphene-based dashboard. The project has been funded by the European Commission and will see the development of a metal-free dashboard, designed to improve automotive functionality, reduce production costs for manufacturers and decrease fuel consumption for end users.
The project is one of eleven newly launched Spearhead Projects — a series of scientific ventures that are set to help graphene reach the industrial market. Working alongside several industrial partners, including Avanzare Innovacion Tecnologica in Spain and Nanesa, Bioage SRL, SPAC SpA and automotive heavyweight, Centro Ricerche Fiat, in Italy the G+BOARD project aims to create the dashboard of the future.
Unlike existing vehicle dashboards, many of which use metal, the inclusion of graphene-based materials in the vehicle dashboard can significantly reduce the weight of the vehicle. For an industry increasingly seeking methods to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, this weight reduction can reap substantial sustainability benefits.
The G+BOARD will be fully integrated with buttons and switches to give a unique user experience while also enhancing the vehicles' environment and quality. For end users, this simplification of layout will reduce the final cost of product while also improving the perceived quality, due to simplified assembly and disassembly procedures.
Like all the Graphene Flagship's newly launched Spearhead Projects, investment in the G+BOARD venture has been made with commercialisation in mind.
"The G+BOARD will be launched immediately at the end of the project," explained Brunetto Martorana, leader for the G+BOARD Spearhead Project at the Graphene Flagship. "Upon completion, the new technologies and final prototypes of the dashboard will be integrated into a concept car and presented to the FCA brand and product departments for final approval."
For the automotive industry, this new concept will be more attractive than existing dashboards. Removing metal from the product not only decreases fuel consumption for the end user, but also improves the dismantling and recycling procedures for the wider automotive sector — a step in the right direction to meet the industry's environmental goals.