James Miceli, founder of C6 and Epoch, says Epoch decided to reach beyond sports equipment into automotive parts, as well as aerospace and medical equipment, because it saw huge unmet potential for growth in demand for carbon fiber.
As automakers adapt to rising fuel efficiency standards, they are under increasing pressure to find ways to make vehicles lighter, and carbon fiber construction is one way to do that.
A shift to carbon fiber already appears to be taking place, but Miceli says much of the growth so far has centered around "decorative pieces" on higher-end vehicles. That leaves an opening for C6 to offer carbon fiber parts throughout the vehicle.
C6 has been in talks with automakers, but Miceli declines to identify the potential customers or say which parts are under discussion.
"It seems like there's a bit of openness for automakers to discuss business with C6," Miceli says. "Anything to do with fuel economy and lightweighting and you can get to the table."
Automakers want to know how switching a part to carbon fiber might help reduce overall weight, says Miceli. But making headway in lightweighting is difficult when following the usual ways of parts sourcing, he says.
C6 specializes in carbon fiber parts in tube shapes, which is ideal for the creation of various auto parts. Miceli says C6's specialty in crafting tubular-shaped pieces from carbon fiber requires a high level of geometric precision, which gives the company a technical advantage over some of its competitors working in other materials.
"Making tubes is hard," Miceli points out. "We want the company to be known for complex geometry."