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Ford, DowAksa Sign JDA for Carbon Fiber Research

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Lightweight Concept Wheel

Carbon fiber wheels from the Ford Lightweight Concept

To say that Ford made a splash earlier this year when it introduced the carbon fiber-bodied GT supercar would be like calling the release of the latest Star Wars trailer “a mild viral sensation that got a couple of social mentions.” One of the countless aspects of the GT’s unveiling that proved exciting was the innovative use of carbon fiber, which will be manufactured by Ontario’s Multimatic Inc.

Around the same time, Ford announced that it would be partnering with DowAksa—a 50/50 joint venture between The Dow Chemical Company and Aksa Akrilik Kimya Sanayii A.Ş.—to investigate the possibility of producing carbon fiber on a larger and more cost-effective scale for use in other production vehicles.

On Friday, Ford Motor Company, Ford Global technologies, and DowAksa signed a JDA to advance research to the next stage.

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“This joint development agreement reinforces Ford’s commitment to our partnership with DowAksa, and our drive to bring carbon fiber components to the broader market,” said Mike Whitens, director, Vehicle Enterprise Sciences, Ford Research & Advanced Engineering. “The goal of our work here fits within the company’s Blueprint for Sustainability, where future Ford vehicles will be lighter with optimized performance that would help consumers further improve fuel economy and reduce emissions.”

“Today’s agreement marks another milestone in the partnership to develop lightweighting solutions for the automotive industry,” said DowAksa Chairman Heinz Haller. “Ford and DowAksa’s collaboration will accelerate delivery of advanced materials and technologies to meet and exceed expectations for high performance and fuel economy.”

While the JDA increases the possibility of seeing carbon fiber in future Ford vehicles, there are unlikely to be any observable results for some time. It is, however, a promising step in the right direction. Stay tuned.

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