Ford Teams With DowAksa To Develop Low-Cost Carbon Fiber
Ford Motor Company and composite manufacturer DowAska have announced a partnership to provide the U.S.-based automaker with low-cost carbon fiber, which will allow Ford to utilize the material in a variety of lower-tier models.
When it comes to cars, every pound saved translates directly into benefits for the end user, including higher fuel economy, better handling and quicker acceleration. That’s why carbon fiber is so nice – its high strength makes it a viable replacement for heavy metals, while its low weight improves just about every practical aspect you can think of. There was always one problem, though – price. Making a composite material like carbon fiber is an expensive endeavor, which is why it’s usually reserved for high-end sports cars. This new partnership, however, could help change that when it comes to Ford’s product lineup.
“Automotive manufacturers’ use of carbon fiber composites has been hindered by the absence of both high-volume manufacturing methods and affordable material formats,” said Mehmet Ali Berkman, Vice Chairman at DowAska. “This partnership combines the individual strengths of each company to target these challenges.”
When it comes to blue oval carbon-fiber use, the lightweight, mid-engine Ford GT supercar is the only one with extensive use of the material, to date.
Continue reading to learn more about Ford’s latest joint venture.
Why it matters
Few would argue that more carbon fiber is a bad thing, especially if it comes at a cheaper price. After all, efficiency is the name of the game nowadays, and if automakers are turning to smaller engines to meet emissions standards, then it’s going to take materials like carbon fiber to keep the cars fun to drive.
Personally, I’d love to see some carbon fiber used in the new Focus RS and Mustang GT. Those cars are already blisteringly quick, and it wouldn’t take much to up their performance even more. Additionally, cheaper carbon fiber may also reduce the cost of cars like the Ford GT, which uses the material for everything from structural components to the body panels.
Ford’s new halo car stole the show when it was unveiled this year at NAIAS. It’s an old-school throwback to the days when Ford battled Ferrari at Le Mans, but it moves the brand forward with its cutting-edge technology.
Most controversial is the 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 that replaced the iconic V-8 traditionally mounted behind the cabin. However, despite fewer cylinders, this boosted six still manages to crank out over 600 horsepower at the rear wheels, which is enough to push the GT to 60 mph under four seconds and crack the 200 mph barrier at the top end. Pricing is expected to be around $125,000.
Read our full review here.