This week Ford and DowAksa announced
that they will step up efforts to produce automotive-grade carbon fibre more
cheaply and in high volumes.
Ford and Dow Chemical’s
partnership on carbon fibre production goes back to 2012, with composites based
on the material tipped to become more important as lighter, less
emissions-intensive cars are developed.
“This opportunity builds
upon Ford’s current joint development agreement with Dow Chemical and
accelerates our time line to introduce carbon fiber composites into high-volume
applications,” said Jim deVries, Ford global manager, Materials and Manufacturing Research, in a statement.
“This collaboration helps
us accelerate our efforts to create lighter automotive-grade composite
materials that benefit customers by enabling improved fuel economy without
Both Ford and DowAksa (a
50:50 JV between Dow Chemical and Aksa Akrilik Kimya Sanayii) will be part of an
Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation hub, part of the US government-supported
National Network for Manufacturing Innovation.
The announcement was made
at the North American International Auto Show 2015 in Detroit, at which Ford also debuted its GT Supercar, which includes a carbon fibre body, and its Shelby GT350R Mustang, which includes carbon fibre wheels and rear wing.
The use of carbon fibre
composites in cars is predicted to increase sharply as regulations demand
vehicles with lower levels of carbon output.
For example, it has been
claimed for that Volkswagen will need 187,000 tonnes of manufactured carbon fibre components by 2020.
There are hopes that
DowAksa will establish a world-scale carbon fibre manufacturing plant in
Geelong, which has significant research firepower and industrial interest
concerning the material.
To read an-depth feature from November about the material in Australia, click here.