Ford, Dow to explore carbon fiber use in high-volume vehicles

DETROIT, Thu Apr 12, 2012 – Ford Motor Co. and Dow Chemical Co. will work to develop cost-effective ways of using carbon fiber in high-volume cars and trucks as the No.2 U.S. automaker moves to cut vehicle weight to improve overall fuel economy.

The joint venture with Dow Automotive Systems mean Ford could start using components made from advanced carbon fiber composites in its vehicle lineup before the end of this decade. Dow Automotive is a unit of Dow Chemical.

Weight reduction is one way for automakers to boost the efficiency of their fleets in anticipation of rising oil prices and stricter fuel economy standards for upcoming model years.

By 2020, Ford aims to cut between 250 pounds and 750 pounds from its new cars and trucks, partly by using lighter materials. Shedding that weight will reduce the strain on the vehicle’s engine, allowing it to wring out more miles per gallon.

Lighter materials can also help Ford improve the range of its electric and hybrid vehicles on a single charge.

“Reducing weight will benefit the efficiency of every Ford vehicle,” said Paul Mascarenas, Ford’s chief technical officer. “However, it’s particularly critical to improving the range of plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles.”

The Obama administration 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *