The aluminum-bodied Ford F-150 isn’t the only indication we have of the automaker’s commitment to exploring the use of lightweight materials. Revealed at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show in January, the new Ford GT will boast a carbon fiber passenger cell and body panels, while the Ford Shelby Mustang GT350R will utilize carbon fiber wheels.
But after those two models have run their courses, we foresee still more carbon fiber in the automaker’s future.
Last Friday, Ford announced that it had officially penned an agreement with alternative materials outfit DowAksa, which will facilitate the joint development of affordable, large-scale carbon fiber for use in automobiles. The agreement will synergize DowAksa’s capabilities within the realm of advanced materials, and Ford’s expertise with design and large-scale production, to forge new low-cost, automotive-grade carbon fiber composites.
Perhaps more importantly, this joint development agreement between DowAksa and Ford opens a direct pathway to a possible future production partnership.
In a statement, DowAksa Vice Chairman Mehmet Ali Berkman said of the agreement: “Automotive manufacturers’ use of carbon fiber composites has been hindered by the absence of both high-volume manufacturing methods and affordable material formats. This partnership combines the individual strengths of each company to target these challenges.”
Ford has proudly touted the carbon fiber joint development agreement as yet another operation in-line with its Blueprint for Sustainability, as a more widespread usage of lightweight materials will prove integral to the automaker’s continued efforts to reduce vehicle emissions.