Ford could bring carbon wheels to SUVs and pickup trucks
Carbon fiber wheels are a rare item most often used in luxury hypercars, but Ford is considering fitting carbon wheels to its pickups trucks, and SUVs, a report from CarExpert reveals.
Ford produced the world's first mass-produced carbon wheels for the Mustang Shelby GT350R, and the company also fitted carbon wheels to its Ford GT and Mustang Shelby GT500.
The wheel type could help improve the efficiency of Ford's fleet of vehicles as the reduced weight and unsprung mass requires less energy to accelerate and brake as well as less suspension effort.
The flipside, however, is that carbon wheels are more easily damaged, meaning they're not a great option for off-road vehicles. They're also more expensive when compared to regular cast aluminum allow wheels. Though mass production is lowering costs, a set of carbon wheels has been known to go for as much as $18,000.
"Customers love it"
Still, the efficiency benefits of carbon wheels mean they might be increasingly used in electric vehicles to help in the endless pursuit of increasing range. In an interview with CarExpert, Ford's Vehicle Program Director of Icons and Ford Performance, Ali Jammoul, corroborated this idea: "You can actually migrate that technology to trucks… Pickup trucks, SUVs, for sure. And I think we need to experiment with [it], I really like that technology," he said.
"It's weight savings, it looks great, and customers love it. They're willing to pay," Jammoul added. "Every time I looked at carbon fiber wheels, even though the volume is low, it made a lot of sense. I'm very excited about it, and I think it's gonna be great."
Though Ford hasn't revealed any official plans, Jammoul's words show that the company is seriously considering bringing carbon wheels to more of its vehicles. With large automakers seeking to increase electric vehicle range any way they can, the efficiency gains carbon wheels bring could mean we are set to see them outgrow their luxury status.
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