Carbon fiber is already a growing market in the automotive sector, with the light weight and high relative physical strength of carbon fiber being increasingly preferred to plastics and even metals. Sports cars, in particular, utilize carbon fiber in various automotive components for better dynamics due to its low weight. Some modern cars, notably new models such as the Lamborghini Sesto Elemento (a play on the periodic table of elements, where carbon is the sixth – sesto – element), the McLaren P1, and the Porsche 918 utilize carbon fiber in virtually every important part of the car, such is its popularity.
However, carbon fiber is still very much a niche application in the car world, due to the elevation in cost brought about by its usage in cars. The pricing hike due to carbon fiber, which is expensive to produce, is sustainable in premium sports cars, for the buyers of which price is usually no concern. However, carbon fiber is not very feasible to be used in family cars, whose buyers view the car as a utility on a budget rather than as a plaything for their virtually limitless pockets.
The growing acceptance of carbon fiber is expected to soon level out the prices for the same, and, following the same development trajectory observed in every new automotive technology, end up becoming commonplace in the most mass production of mass production cars by 2025. The trend of lowering prices is expected to flatten out by then.
Top industry experts are unanimous that the prevalent trends in the market for carbon fiber in the automotive industry strongly suggest the probability of it rising through the ranks and filtering down to the lower reaches of the automotive feeding chain. The hope is that, like sat-nav and seat massagers, carbon fiber will one day be an expectation from a car rather than a bonus.