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New GM Trucks to Utilize Carbon Fiber Beds

New GM Trucks to Utilize Carbon Fiber Beds

General Motors is allegedly planning to utilize carbon fiber for its next-generation pickup truck beds. Generally reserved for high-end vehicles, carbon fiber will significantly cut weight on the bed design while maintaining strength similar to today’s steel beds.

Due out next year, GM’s next half-ton pickups are expected to use a mix of materials. The company is allegedly taking a different approach from that of Ford by not going to a completely aluminum body and bed. GM has been quick to target the Ford F-150’s aluminum bed in marketing efforts for its Chevrolet Silverado, citing weaknesses of the aluminum design.

Carbon fiber is a rare find on high-volume production vehicles today. Despite being stronger and lighter than most metals, it’s labor-intensive fabrication process makes it expensive to utilize.

While the next-generation Silverado and GMC Sierra are slated to rollout next year, the carbon fiber beds will apparently not be part of the launch. According to sources cited by the Wall Street Journal, the carbon fiber material is still two years out. It isn’t clear what material the the truck beds will utilize initially. AutoVerdict sources have suggested GM will leverage a composite material similar to that of the Honda Ridgeline bed.

Reducing mass on the company’s next pickups is part of a broader plan by GM to shed weight from its vehicles. Nearly every new GM product is seeing mass reduction from its replacement product as the company works to meet increasing fuel economy standards. Thus far the company’s truck lineup has not gone through significant light-weighting; a company-wide effort launched back in 2013 by now CEO Mary Barra.






About Nick Saporito

AutoVerdict Senior Editor Nick Saporito began writing about cars at age 13. Nick ran a couple of automotive enthusiast sites for several years, before taking some time off to focus on his career and education. By day he's a marketing executive in the telecom world and by night he hangs out here at AV. You'll find him focusing on tech, design and the industry's future.
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 One Comment

  1. Dec 7, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    Race truck! Kidding aside, I wonder if it will be such of a significant reduction in weight that affects handling while unloaded.

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 Latest Forum Messages
  1. Tone
    "AutoVerdict*sources have suggested GM will leverage a composite material similar to that of the Honda Ridgeline bed."

    While carbon fibre is a composite, not all composites are carbon fibre -- including the Ridgeline bed, which is constructed thusly:

    "The material comes together like an automotive lasagna. It starts with a polyethylene film. On that is dispersed a layer of mixed polyester and vinyl resin.

    On top of that goes chopped fiberglass to a thickness of 40 percent by weight. And on top of that is another layer of plastic film with another later of resin.

    "The material is then flattened and baked at 280 degrees Fahrenheit and extruded into a bed."

    Here's the big shocker: according to this Automotive News article, GM used this technology, from Meridian Automotive Systems Inc., first (before Honda) but decided to stick with steel to allow dealers to make additional profits on bedliners.

    So, doesn't look quite as revolutionary as 'carbon fibre' bed. More like: more durable, lighter plastic bed like the Honda Ridgeline.
    Repair costs are going to be high
    Carbon is very strong but not malletable. In other words, it either can take the load or it snaps -- no bending. That doesn't seem to be a great material for a pickup bed. Undoubtedly, they have a solution. It'll be interesting to see what kind of cf.

    I can tell you that carbon bike frames are both strong and light. But it's not recommended that you clamp tightly on the carbon to put the bike in a work stand. If it can't take clamping it's hard to imagine it doing well having stone dumped in the bed.
    Wonder how much this will increase the sticker...
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