A new carbon fibre bonnet has been developed for the humble Ford Focus, transplanting racing technology into the small family car.
The research is part of Ford’s drive to reduce fuel consumption in its road cars and the use of the lightweight prototype bonnet reduces weight by 50 per cent over the steel bonnet.
Despite its weight, carbon fibre is also particularly strong and is one of the main materials used in hand-built racing cars and supercars. For example, the stunning Lamborghini Sesto Elemento concept car revealed in 2011 weighs just 999kg thanks to its largely carbon fibre body.
“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,” said Inga Wehmeyer, advanced materials and processes research engineer, Ford European Research Centre.
However, Ford hopes advances in the technology will bring it to the likes of the Ford Focus, one of the UK’s most popular cars.
The Ford Focus is available in five-door hatchback or Estate variation in the UK. The latest generation was launched in 2011 and comes with a host of groundbreaking technology.
This includes active grille shutters to improve aerodynamics at the front of the car, frugal ‘Econetic’ model offering free UK road tax because of its low CO2 emissions.
Inside, the Ford Focus includes SYNC technology, which allows the driver to use voice activation to control satellite navigation, music and a phone if it is connected to the system via Bluetooth or USB.
The new Ford Focus is on sale now in the UK. Ford Focus prices start from £14,000 at Perrys Ford dealerships.