This isn't just a supercar thing anymore, the carbon fiber frame will soon be seen on average people carriers.
Despite the fact that President Trump is calling for a review of EPA fuel economy guidelines, which could result in the administration curtailing or eliminating the standards, Ford appears to be charging forwards with fuel saving tech, and in this case, performance enhancing technology. That's because the Blue Oval’s partner and parts supplier Magna are announcing that Ford has no intentions of holding back its pace of technological advancement.
Proof of this comes from the fact that the two companies are collaborating on a research and development project that could bring a technology once seen in supercars to the mainstream. If things go well, your next Ford could feature carbon fiber composites as part of the vehicle structure. For now, the team is focusing specifically on the subframe of the car. We’re happy to hear this because it follows Ford's positioning as one of the automakers making a push to bring next-generation of composites into more mainstream vehicles, with the Blue Oval having previously brought carbon fiber wheels to the Mustang GT350R along with other weight-reducing composite materials.
The carbon fiber wheels on the Mustang cut weight by 60 pounds over standard units, but using the material to make the subframe could increase the weight savings by reducing subframe mass up to 34% over a standard steel-stamped subframe. This has the dual purpose of saving fuel and bettering vehicle handling, although Ford also stands to gain from a manufacturing standpoint because the composite subframe is made up of only six parts versus the steel frame’s 45, making for an 87% reduction in parts. The piece itself is made up of two molded pieces and four metallic parts joined by adhesive bonding and structural rivets, which is all it needs to hold together the engine, front wheels, and frontal crash structures.
Ford and Magna are currently testing prototypes of the subframe on road cars and if the advantages are noticeable enough, we can expect them to migrate the units to production vehicles provided that costs aren't too high. Get excited because this would be one of the big leaps where advanced tech previously only seen on the rarest of cars becomes viable for mass production, to the benefit of us all.