Ford Developing Carbon Fiber Body
No matter who wins the presidential race in November, he will have to deal with the same “malarkey” surrounding fuel prices. Hybrid and electric vehicles can offer relief from the pump, but aren’t in the price range of many buyers. Another way to save on fuel is to lighten the car as a whole, something that Ford is taking a serious look at with carbon fiber research.
Carbon fiber is close to the strength of steel, while being much lighter. To this point, the only reason auto manufacturers haven’t begun using the material (except for a piece here and there, and in luxury vehicles) is the cost. Ford’s European Research Center has been working with Hightech.NRW, a German research firm, on developing economical production practices to produce carbon fiber auto parts.
The prototype of the process is a hood designed for the Focus. Ford showcased the hood at the Composites Europe conference in Dusseldorf, Germany. If research can continue to reduce costs and production time, consumers could expect to own Ford vehicles with bodies made entirely from carbon fiber, rather than steel.
Ford is also working with Dow Automotive Systems to perfect the process, which, according to the company, could result in shedding around 750 lbs. from the weight of a vehicle. Keeping with the example of the Focus, using carbon fiber construction would reduce the weight of the car from 2,948 lbs. 2,198 lbs.
Below you’ll find a video about carbon fiber car parts.