British sports car firm is testing innovative material that is lighter and stronger than carbon-fiber

BAC, also known as the Briggs Automotive Company, introduced the Mono in 2011, after two years of development. Using a carbon-fiber composite construction over a steel chassis, the Mono is a superlight, single-seat sports car inspired by motorsports. It features an FIA-compliant rollover structure, construction principles borrowed from DTM race cars, and a suspension system specifically developed for track use. Tipping the scales at only 600 kg (1,323), it’s among the lightest road-legal vehicles you can buy. The sports car was updated in 2016, when it received a new engine and more carbon-fiber components.

Following the launch of the "facelifted" model, BAC unveiled the Mono Graphene at the "Science in the City" festival in Manchester, the United Kingdom. Compared to the standard model, it features body panels made from graphene, which makes it the industry’s first vehicle to use the material. Made from sheets of carbon just one atom thick, graphene is significantly lighter and stronger than carbon-fiber, and BAC claims it would benefit cost, performance, and fuel economy when applied wider in the manufacturing process.

“Making significant weight savings and improving body strength will allow us to offer improved performance to our customers. This is the latest in a line of ground-breaking innovations on the Mono," said BAC director and co-founder, Neill Briggs.

BAC didn’t say if and when the Mono Graphene will become available to customers, but the concept could make it to production as soon as the firm is done testing the new components.

Continue reading to learn more about the BAC Mono Graphene.

What Makes the BAC Mono Graphene Special?

2017 BAC Mono Graphene High Resolution Exterior Press Releases
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2017 BAC Mono Graphene High Resolution Exterior Press Releases Wallpaper quality
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2017 BAC Mono Graphene High Resolution Exterior Press Releases Wallpaper quality
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The Mono Graphene is essentially a standard Mono, but with the rear wheel arches made from graphene rather than carbon-fiber. The new body parts do nothing to change the vehicle’s appearance, as graphene looks almost identical to carbon-fiber. However, looks aren’t important here, but the way graphene is being implemented into production cars.

Developed in collaboration with Haydale Composite Solutions, the rear wheel arches are supposedly lighter and stronger compared to the standard carbon-fiber parts. BAC says graphene is around 20 percent lighter than carbon-fiber and 200 times stronger than steel. For reference, the strongest carbon fibers are ten times stronger than steel.

While graphene research and development isn’t exactly new, it’s commercial use is barely gaining traction. The material hols great promise for various applications, including solar cells, light-emitting diodes, touch panels, and smart windows or phones. As of 2015, a graphene-infused printer powder is available for commercial use, while n 2016 researchers have been able to make a graphene film that can absorb 95 percent of light incident on it. Thanks to BAC, as well as the fact that graphene production is getting significantly cheaper, the material could soon become popular on production models.

BAC says it chose to test the use of graphene on the rear wheel arches due to the size and complexity of the part. If testing of the manufacturing process and how the material is fitted in with the car returns positive results, a sports car with more graphene body panels is likely to be developed and launched soon.

Other than the new rear wheel arches, the Mono Graphene is identical to the standard model, including the cockpit and the drivetrain. The latter is brand-new for the 2016 and pairs a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine to a Hewland six-speed sequential gearbox with a limited-slip differential. Prepped by Mountune, the unit pumps 305 horsepower, a 25-horsepower improvement compared to the previous 2.3-liter Cosworth mill.

Press Release

BAC takes large development leap by using graphene on the single seater supercar, the Mono
The use of the innovative material is a world first, as BAC further illustrates its ability to make technological advancements
The panel development was done in collaboration with Haydale Composite Solutions
The lightweight material features on the Mono’s rear wheel arches
graphene is lighter and stronger than carbon fibre, bringing weight and performance benefits
BAC is the first manufacturer in the world to develop a car featuring panels made from graphene, the innovative and lightweight material that brings weight and strength benefits.

BAC has partnered with Haydale Composite Solutions to create rear wheel arches made out of graphene, and has been putting the material through its paces on the Mono, the world’s only road legal single-seater supercar.

Graphene is made of sheets of carbon just one atom thick, and is significantly lighter than standard carbon fibre. It is also stronger than carbon fibre, meaning that it can bring weight reductions of around 20% while being 200 times stronger than steel. These benefits could have implications for cost, performance and fuel economy when applied wider in the manufacturing process.

BAC chose to test the use of graphene on the rear wheel arches due to the size and complexity of the part, to thoroughly test the manufacturing process and how the material fitted in with the car.

BAC Development Director and co-founder Neill Briggs said: “BAC is uniquely placed in the automotive industry to be able to take innovative steps, and latest work with graphene is further proof of this. This development work is further proof of our ability to work with the very latest materials and innovators. At BAC we don’t wait for new technology to come to us, we actively seek it out and work with the very best in the industry to stay at the forefront of the automotive and motorsport industries.

“Making significant weight savings and improving body strength will allow us to offer improved performance to our customers. This is the latest in a line of ground-breaking innovations on the Mono, and we were delighted to have worked with graphene composite industry leaders, Haydale, on this exciting project.”

Ebby Shahidi, Haydale Composite Solutions Ltd.’s Director of Aerospace and Defence added: “We are pleased to have worked on the design and development of the graphene enhanced carbon fibre materials for the BAC Mono. These initial materials have shown some major increases in impact and thermal performance coupled with improved surface finish and it’s pleasing to see these attributes being demonstrated on such a high performance vehicle as the Mono.

“We look forward to collaborating further with BAC and delivering even higher performance materials and components to increase the performance of this exciting vehicle.”

BAC showed the graphene enhanced Mono at the Science in the City festival in Manchester.

Notes to Editors

About BAC

Bespoke supercar manufacturer BAC (Briggs Automotive Company) is based in Liverpool and was co-founded by brothers Ian and Neill Briggs. It produces the fast and highly acclaimed Mono supercar, a single-seater formula style car that provides a visceral and exhilarating driving experience.

Since its launch in 2011 it has been going from strength to strength and is now sold in several markets around the world. It launched with great success and fanfare in Hong Kong at the end of 2015, with eight cars sold in a single night. BAC dealers can also be found in North America, Japan and London.

The 2016 model year version of the Mono comes with an all-new four-cylinder 305bhp 2.5-litre Mountune engine, which takes the 580kg car from 0-60mph in just 2.8sec.

Despite its global appeal, BAC Mono remains proudly British, with parts sourced from its home country wherever possible.

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About Haydale Composite Solutions Ltd (HCS)

Haydale Composite Solutions Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Haydale Graphene Industries Plc, is a recognised composite R&D and testing house, based in Loughborough. HCS customers include significant corporations such as National Grid, SSE, Eirgrid, Chevron, Anglian Water, Severn Trent Water, Yorkshire Water, and 3M.

HCS has developed a reputation for delivering innovative solutions in the commercial applications of advanced polymer composite materials working with global companies over more than 20 years. HCS is focused on a range of market sectors including pipe lining for the oil, gas and water industries, infrastructure for electricity and energy sectors plus the marine and transportation markets.

HCS competence spans the entire development cycle from applied research, product design, process development, product testing, and certification, to setting up manufacturing plants. HCS also works with OEMs and end-users to develop and provide composite solutions with demonstrable clear technical, economic and environmental benefits over existing structures currently manufactured in traditional materials such as steel, aluminium, wood or concrete.

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