Cheap Carbon Fiber is a Priority for Ford

Carbon Fiber Wheel of 2016 Shelby GT350R Mustang 1 photo
Photo: Catalin Garmacea
Well good morning to you too, sunshine! FoMoCo finally realized that cheap carbon fiber is the way to go for a sustainable future. High-volume low-cost carbon fiber components aren’t something to boast about to your mates but a necessity for modern vehicles, which need to be more efficient and eco-conscious than the passenger cars of yesterday.
EURO VI and CAFE 2016 standards are the name of the game here. As a matter of fact, the internal combustion engine has been perfected so much in the last two decades, technologies advances in this domain slowed down considerably as of late, which is why reducing weight became a top priority.

A few pounds shaved off here and there through the extensive use of cheap carbon fiber equates to more miles to the gallon, better handling and less CO2 emissions, as well as improved rigidity and safety in the case of an accident. The Bavarians from BMW are at the forefront of carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) research and usage for both their M-rated land missiles and the eco-friendly i model lineup.

A heck of a long time after BMW acknowledged the importance of carbon fiber, Ford also jumps on the CFRP bandwagon, especially after we’ve been presented with the 2017 Ford GT concept and the 2016 Shelby GT350R Mustang at the Detroit Auto Show. Ford supervisor of the Composites Group Patrick Blanchard recently disclosed that “the flexibility of the technology allows us to develop materials for all vehicle subsystems across the product line – resulting in a weight savings of more than 50 percent compared to steel.”

Considering the 2015 Ford F-150 shaved off 700 pounds (317 kg) compared to the 2014 model year thanks to its military-grade aluminum alloy body shell, we’re keeping our fingers crossed the next generation of the Fiesta and Focus will make use of cheap carbon fiber for things like the hood, fenders, roof, tailgate and other panels. The carbon fiber wheels of the Shelby GT350R Mustang aren't bad either.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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