Carbon fiber isn’t for everyone
Carbon fiber cars. Sort of futuristic, right? Well, not really. Car parts have been made for years with carbon fiber in European supercars such as Ferrari and McLaren. But notice the keyword here, “supercar.” Carbon fiber is far from being on the cusp of mainstream automobile manufacturing. Carbon fiber material costs and production have declined over previous decades but it is still quite expensive and thus prohibitive when attempting to scale up.
Yet, when you’re charging $100,000 plus per car, and your buyer values carbon fiber and how you make quality use of the technology, then cost doesn’t much factor in. This is probably why Lamborghini’s recent announcement of a new carbon fiber research facility to open in Seattle did not catch many off-guard. The luxury automaker has been using carbon fiber for decades in fact, and the grand opening of this new facility will mark the 30th anniversary of its use of carbon fiber reinforced polymer in its vehicles.
The Advanced Composite Structures Laboratory (ACSL) will be responsible for as Lamborghini puts it, “to unlock new potential in carbon fiber.” This sounds in a word … awesome! Seattle was chosen specifically because of Boeing. A collaborative partnership has enabled both to push carbon fiber innovations forward that are mutually beneficial to aerospace and automotive applications. Forged carbon composite for example shortens the range of production time needed to manufacture components. This technology is one of many that have emerged thanks to this partnership.
Carbon fiber and Lamborghini share a long, long history, and now with Boeing keep your eye out for some truly revolutionary developments in the coming future.