Daily Archives: October 11, 2012

Ford seeks to lighten cars, improve MPG, with carbon fiber

Ford showed off this Focus with a carbon fiber-reinforced hood at a materials conference in Germany.

(Credit: Ford )

Exotic cars such as the McLaren MP4-12C boast lightweight bodies made entirely of carbon fiber-reinforced panels, yet a demonstration by Ford of a carbon fiber hood suggests that mass commercialization of this advanced material will trickle out on a piece-by-piece basis.

Carbon fiber-reinforced components can weigh less than half of their steel equivalents, while exhibiting similar strength. However, carbon fiber is currently too time-consuming and expensive to produce for use in affordable, mass market cars. BMW currently builds a carbon fiber roof over the cabin of its M3 performance vehicle, and is working with Daimler on developing a practical production process for carbon fiber body components.

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