Carbon fiber wheels reduce the mass of a vehicle, which can lead to improved responsiveness and handling on the most demanding performance cars. Ford was one of the first manufacturers to put carbon wheel technology on its performance cars. We covered in the past that carbon fiber could be the future of wheels in the automotive industry. Now it looks like Ford intends to explore the expansion of the technology to trucks and SUVs to take advantage of the efficiency gains.
Carbon Fiber Wheels: The Future of Automobiles
Australia’s CarExpert spoke with vehicle program director for Ford Icons and Ford Performance, Ali Jammoul, who had stated that Ford is investigating how the technology can benefit the driving experience for Ford’s SUV and pickup truck customers. Carbon fiber can cut the energy required to rotate the wheel, which immediately translates to a reduction in energy consumption. Carbon fiber wheel design also improves steering feel. For electric vehicles, in particular, less weight in the wheel means enhanced range and hastened recharging.
Jammoul stated that the technology can be migrated to trucks and SUVs; customers love it and are “willing to pay.” Ford, along with many other manufacturers, currently source carbon wheels from Australian manufacturer Carbon Revolution. These wheels allow manufacturers to chase every last weight-saving possibility without affecting the vehicle’s performance. We’re likely going to see carbon wheels found on more electric vehicles than ICE ones, but that’s not to say that they aren’t beneficial to both powertrains.
Carbon Revolution, in particular, puts all of its new products through a lengthy process of design and testing for each wheel. After taking a proposed design, they simulate its performance against fatigue and impacts, considering everything down to the type of resin used and the carbon weave direction in each layer to ensure optimum durability. After achieving sim approval, the wheels take on real-world testing; all of Carbon Revolution’s wheels undergo an unseen life of testing and abuse and more testing before rolling into a customer’s driveway.
With Ford looking at adding this technology to their trucks and SUVs, it’ll only be a matter of time before other manufacturers follow suit.