Ford’s energy saving carbon fibre bonnet 0

Ford is always looking at ways of making their cars and production more efficient and environmentally friendly. This time round Ford has announced that they have developed a prototype carbon fibre bonnet.

You have seen them on modified sports cars, being of a black colour. Carbon fibre bonnets are nothing new and out of the ordinary but they are not commonly used amongst the passenger car market. The beauty of carbon fibre is that it is stronger than typical steel and lighter too. This allows the car to be much more fuel efficient and more sustainable. With the car weighing less, the car needs less power and fuel to get going. Bonnets are one of the biggest exterior body parts and brings a car’s weight down considerably.

The company revealed their new invention at the Composites Europe event, hosted in Germany this week. Ford’s prototype carbon fibre bonnet is made with technology used in racing cars, made with CFRP (Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic). According to Ford, the bonnet will weigh a massive 50 per cent less than a standard steel bonnet.

One of the main reasons why carbon fibre bonnets have not made the mass car market is the sheer time that it takes to make one. Ford has stated that this factor has now been conquered.

Inga Wehmeyer, advanced materials and processes research engineer at Ford’s European research centre said “Reducing a vehicle’s weight can deliver major benefits for fuel consumption, but a process for fast and affordable production of carbon fibre automotive parts in large numbers has never been available. By partnering with materials experts through the Hightech.NRW research project, Ford is working to develop a solution that supports cost efficient manufacturing of carbon fibre components.”

There are certain standards that the bonnet has to meet in terms of strength and resistance to collisions. Ford has stated that they have achieved that through their own tests.

There is still a very long way to go despite the company developing a prototype. Mass production of a Ford carbon fibre bonnet will cost and still has plenty of issues to overcome. A carbon fibre bonnet within the mass market certainly seems like the way forward.