Four wheels is taking inspiration from eight legs as a US company is hoping to make a supercar from spider silk.
When thousands of tiny nanostrands make up larger silken ‘cables’, per Science, it’s five times stronger than steel.
It’s also light, more bendable than brittle carbon fiber, and it’s cheaper than carbon fiber, aluminum, or titanium.
Now a company in Utah and California has a plan to make a supercar out of it.
And while we see a lot of wacky concept cars – this is pretty out there.
Spidey Tek is a biotech company dedicated to the mass production of spider silk.
Using their own cutting-edge research and findings from Utah State University’s Synthetic Biomanufacturing Facility, they can grow the proteins cheaply by infusing it into alfalfa.
After being grown, it’s extracted, weaved into fibers, and blended with carbon fiber.
Their hope is to make 100 naturally-aspirated, V12-powered two-seater supercars.
The supercar’s creator, Roberto Velozzi, is hoping that it will be the strongest and lightest supercar ever – and its $3 million price tag reflects that.
And while they’ve missed the boat for a 2024 supercar launch, if everything goes to plan, it’s hoped the supercars can be delivered in three to four years.
Various aerospace companies and the medical industry are interested in spider silk, too, due to its strength and natural antigen qualities.
Velozzi has partnered with Utah State University’s Dr. Randy Lewis, to apply her findings to the ‘Velozzi Hypercar’.
Velozzi wants to blend spider silk with carbon fiber to make an even stronger material.
These will form the body and the chassis of the V12-powered, six-speed manual transmission two-seater.
“Spider silk has high strength, elasticity, and toughness which is unmatched by most industrial fibers,” Velozzi said to Autoweek.
“Gram-for-gram, certain spider-silk fibers can be stronger than titanium and more elastic than rubber, absorbing considerable amounts of energy before failure.
“This exceptionally lightweight biomaterial is an ideal replacement for, or a reinforcement to carbon-fiber composites.”
He continued: “Carbon-fiber composites maintain their inherent strength and stiffness when blended with spider silk yet gain improved fracture toughness.
“Harnessing this synergy between the high-performance nature of carbon fiber and spider silk will produce an enhanced composite for the next generation of high-performance, efficient, resilient vehicles.”