Carbon fiber, typically used in race cars and high-end sports cars, is now making its way on conventional vehicles as automakers find a more efficient way in cutting costs on the lightweight material.
Ford showed off its newest carbon fiber technology that could be used to help improve fuel economy on its hybrid and electric vehicles. The prototype carbon fiber hood is the American automaker’s first step in manufacturing an affordable version of the material that could help cut the weight of its vehicles by up to 749 lbs by the end of this decade.
The automaker has teamed up with Dow Automotive Systems to develop a more affordable way of manufacturing automotive-grade carbon fiber for high-volume applications.
“It’s no secret that reducing a vehicle’s weight can deliver major benefits for fuel consumption, but a process for fast and affordable production of carbon-fiber automotive parts in large numbers has never been available,” said Inga Wehmeyer, advanced materials and processes research engineer at Ford’s European Research Center. “Ford is working to develop a solution that supports cost-efficient manufacturing of carbon-fiber components.”