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Lamborghini to become first automobile manufacturer to study carbon fiber in space

Lamborghini has partnered with Houston Methodist Research Institute to study the effects of space on carbon fiber.

Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

A partnership between Automobili Lamborghini and the Houston Methodist Research Institute will send carbon fiber composite materials into space for experimentation then return them to Earth for study.

No earlier than November 2, a Northrop Grumman Antares rocket carrying the material will be launched from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Its destination is the International Space Station.

Lamborghini International Space Station technology research Houston Lamborghini hopes to use the results of the study to impact product development here on Earth.Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

The launch is part of a testing campaign sponsored by the ISS U.S. National Laboratory and overseen by the Houston Methodist Research Institute. Its aim is to analyze the response of five different composite materials produced by Lamborghini to the extreme stresses induced by the space environment. The results could have numerous real world impacts, including applications in future automobiles, prosthetic implants, and subcutaneous devices.

The five samples of composite materials include a 3D-printed continuous-fiber composite, which Lamborghini says makes it possible to combine the extreme flexibility of "additive manufacturing" with high-level mechanical performance, a strength equal to that of a good quality aluminum for structural uses. This particular material is very important in the biomedical field.

The materials will be aboard the ISS for six months, during which time they will be subjected to extreme thermal excursion cycles ranging from -40 degrees to 200 degrees centigrade. They will also experience high levels of ultraviolet radiation, gamma rays, and the flow of atomic oxygen caused by ionization.

Lamborghini International Space Station technology research Houston After the mission is complete, the samples will be brought back to Earth for additional study.Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

Post-mission, the materials will be returned to Earth and undergo joint testing by Automobili Lamborghini and the Houston Methodist Research Institute in an effort to qualify degradation in terms of chemical, physical, and mechanical properties.

Lamborghini currently uses composite materials throughout its lineup, with carbon fiber playing an instrumental role in the company's entire product range. The company is providing its expertise and materials free of charge for the study.

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Lamborghini is accelerating its path toward an all-electric future.

Photo courtesy of Lamborghini Automobili

Lamborghini plans to electrify its lineup and now we know how fast that process will be going and what the company won't be focusing on. In a presentation, Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini, detailed that the super luxury automaker will "focus continually on identifying technologies and solutions that guarantee top performance and driving dynamics" rather than fuel economy. Those words are magic to enthusiasts ears.

"Lamborghini's electrification plan is a newly-plotted course, necessary in the context of a radically-changing world, where we want to make our contribution by continuing to reduce environmental impact through concrete projects," said Winkelmann. "Our response is a plan with a 360 degree approach, encompassing our products and our Sant'Agata Bolognese location, taking us towards a more sustainable future while always remaining faithful to our DNA."

The three-phase approach to electrification starts this year. From 2021 to 2022, Lamborghini will focus on "presenting models paying tribute to the company's recent period of continuous success". Expect two new cars in the V12 model line-up to be announced this year.

By the end of 2024, the hybrid transition for the automaker will be well underway. In 2023 Lamborghini will launch its first hybrid series production car and by the end of 2024, the entire range will be electrified. The company's internal target for this phase is to reduce product carbon dioxide emissions by 50 percent by the beginning of 2025.

In this second phase, Lamborghini is committed to keeping the drive experience in focus as well as the application of carbon fiber materials, which the company sees as crucial in developing their new product lineup.

Lamborghini is committing to bringing the company's first fully-electric car to the market in the second half of the 2020s with a number of electric vehicles on the horizon. The automaker expects to introduce a fourth model.

The automaker has initiated an investment of 1.5 billion euros to create the pathway to electrification. The money will be spent over four years time.

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Hyundai employees present a check for $25,000 to Kids Meals Inc.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Long after the last of the snow and ice has melted, Texans are still feeling the effects of the winter storms that made their way through the region in February. Part of those ongoing effects have been food insecurity, which was already a problem in the area, and throughout the country, due to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hyundai Motor America and its Central Texas dealers recently donated $75,000 in support of ongoing relief efforts.

"Far too many children and their families are experiencing food insecurity made worse by the pandemic and the recent winter storms in Texas," said John deNeve, General Manager, South Central Region, Hyundai Motor America. "That is why we have partnered with Kids' Meals Inc. and the Central Texas Food Bank, to bring much-needed relief to the most vulnerable families across Central Texas."

Kids' Meals Inc. in Houston received $25,000 on May 26. Hyundai's donation will help provide 12,500 free healthy meals to children and families across Houston and Harris County over the next four weeks.

An additional donation of $25,000 was given to the Central Texas Food Bank in Austin on May 29. This donation from Hyundai will help provide 100,000 meals for the estimated 470,000 Central Texans in need of food assistance. Local Austin Hyundai dealer Scott Stark of South Point Hyundai provided a matching donation of $25,000.

"We're so grateful to Hyundai for being such a great community partner," said Derrick Chubbs, President and CEO of the Central Texas Food Bank. "This generous donation of $50,000 to help fight hunger here in Central Texas will provide 200,000 meals for our neighbors in need. Demand for our services is still extremely high as a result of the pandemic and February's winter storms, so this donation will be vital in helping us meet the elevated need."

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