A few days ago, Showa Corporation (SHOWA) of Japan exhibited carbon fiber reinforced composite drive shafts that can be installed on light vehicles at the "Showa Technology Experience" test car exhibition held at the Shioya Test Ground in Tochigi Prefecture.
Showa is known for providing Honda suspension products. According to the integration plan announced at the end of 2019, Showa, Keihin and Hitachi will merge with Hitachi Automotive Systems, a joint venture subsidiary of Honda and Hitachi. In the past, carbon products were only used in the power shafts of a few supercars and sports cars, but the high cost and difficulties in mass production are still bottlenecks.
For two-piece conventional steel propeller shafts, a center bearing seat is required to reduce resonance. Thanks to Showa’s integrated bearing rod design, carbon fiber composite brakes can be reduced to half of the steel axle weight (approximately 4 kg of the prototype car shown), which greatly reduces the fuel weight, can further improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions, and is now used in transverse engines The universal two-piece propeller shaft of the 4WD vehicle is one-piece. It is also suitable for light vehicles.
Showa is currently working hard to use the drive shaft in commercial vehicles scheduled to be launched around 2025.