Ford and Dow will start work together to develop low cost ways of using carbon fibre in large volumes to cut vehicle weight and improve fuel efficiency. The joint venture with Dow will mean that Ford could start using carbon fibre components in it’s vehicle line before the end of the decade.
In anticipation of rising oil prices weight reduction is one way for automakers to increase the fuel efficiency of their vehicles and by 2020 Ford aims to shed between 110 to 340 kgs from it’s vehicles weight which would reduce the strain on the vehicles engine allowing it to squeeze out more mpg. Lighter materials will also help improve the range of it’s many hybrid vehicles using a single charge.
The Obama administration which has recently announced a new $14.2 million dollar effort to accelerate the development and deployment of stronger and lighter materials said automakers would have to boost the average fuel efficiency of their cars and trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by the 2025 model year.
Carbon fibre although 10 times stronger than steel with one-quater the weight has not hit the mainstream in the past due to it’s high cost price. The partnerships being made with automakers and carbon fibre manufacturers will lower these costs by finding cheaper ways of preparing the materials.