Toyota joint venture announced for production of composite electric vehicle parts

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Keeping electric vehicles as light as possible is a key priority for OEMs to enhance efficiency. Therefore the use of new lightweight materials such as composites to replace heavier metals is gaining in popularity, particularly with hybrids and BEVs having to also carry the extra load of a battery.

TRB Lightweight Structures and Toyota Tsusho America announced a joint venture to produce high volume composite parts to serve the automotive industry in North America. The new venture has opened a location near Lexington, Kentucky and will begin delivering composite battery enclosures to a Tier 1 supplier to the truck and bus industry in April.

Composite materials are gaining popularity in the automotive industry due to their light weight and superior mechanical properties. TRB is headquartered in the UK and brings decades of experience manufacturing lightweight solutions for transportation, including rail and aerospace, using both composites and aluminum. The new venture leverages TRB’s automated manufacturing techniques and Toyota Tsusho America’s global supply chain. The factory will utilize proprietary robotics and processing automation to unlock cost-effective composite part production.

“We’re striving to support our customers as they move to electrification,” said Mike Lavender, senior vice president of Toyota Tsusho America. “Working together with TRB allows us to offer new lightweight solutions to the market that improve performance.”

“We’re thrilled to collaborate with Toyota Tsusho America to bring our knowledge and innovation to US automakers and their suppliers,” said Richard Holland, managing director of TRB Lightweight Structures. “We share key values with Toyota; a belief in the value of long-term relationships and a quality mindset.”

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