Carbon-fibre is the material of choice for high-end sports cars and components that require extreme strength and rigidity in a lightweight form factor. Unfortunately, its great benefits come at a huge cost of production, usually necessitating expensive CFRP machines. This is why the cost of carbon-fibre can be as high as $20/kilogram sometimes. That’s almost twenty times the price of automotive-grade steel, which is why we see carbon-fibre on only the most high-end cars and bikes.
But, thanks to a research firm funded partially by BMW, it seems like the price of carbon-fibre is set to drop soon, by as much as 90%. The research, conducted by German-based MAI Carbon Cluster Management, is also backed by Audi as well as aircraft manufacturers Airbus and SGL Carbon, which just goes to show how many companies are interested and can benefit from the drop in price of this material.
Klaus Drechsler, head of the 80-million Euro research project, said researchers are already about halfway toward achieving their goal. “We’ve certainly reached a halfway point on our cost-cutting target for suitable carbon-fibre parts. We’ll see a lot more carbon-fibre use in the next generation of cars,” he stated to Automotive News Europe.
BMW currently uses carbon-fibre extensively in its i3 and i8 electric vehicles, where shaving every ounce of weight is of paramount importance. But it has already made it clear that it wants to extend the use of the material beyond just strictly green or performance cars, and into its more mainstream sedans.