Ford Developing Carbon Fiber Technology for ‘The Masses’

New Carbon Fiber Bonnet 1 photo
Photo: Ford
The use of ‘exotic’ materials is what pushes the price of supercars up considerably - carbon fiber is very expensive, and it is still not feasible to use it in regular production cars. However, Ford unveiled a prototype for a new carbon fiber bonnet.
It was designed for the Focus, and is reportedly some 50% lighter than the standard steel part fitted to the car. According to Inga Wehmeyer, advanced materials and processes engineer at Ford: “Reducing a vehicle’s weight can deliver major benefits for fuel consumption, but a process for fast and affordable production of carbon fibre automotive parts in large numbers has never been available [. . .] By partnering with materials experts through the Hightech.NRW research project, Ford is working to develop a solution that supports cost efficient manufacturing of carbon fibre components.

They will be investing heavily in the development of this technology, as they plan to shed some 340 kg on average from their entire range, by 2020. Carbon fiber is one third the weight of steel, five times stronger and twice as stiff, so the only downside to its use is the cost. This is a very interesting development, and we were honestly wondering when carbon fiber would end up being more mainstream, as is the case with most good ideas, first used on expensive cars.
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