Cars The Ford Shelby GT350R's carbon fiber wheel.

Published on July 14th, 2015 | by Nicholas Brown


Ford GT350R Shelby Gets Standard Carbon Fiber Rims

July 14th, 2015 by  

Originally published Kompulsa.

Carbon fiber wheels have long been known for their ability to reduce vehicle weight, resulting in improved fuel/energy efficiency and performance that will make both performance enthusiasts and conservationists happy. Weight reduction (alongside drag coefficient reduction) is one of the holy grails of performance enhancements, as well as efficiency enhancements. A combination of high performance and high efficiency is very difficult to achieve (unless the car is electric).

The Ford Shelby GT350R's carbon fiber wheel.

The Ford Shelby GT350R’s new carbon fiber wheel.
Image obtained with thanks from Ford.

Now, the Ford Shelby GT350R Mustang has gotten its first mass-produced carbon fiber wheels, thanks to a partnership with Carbon Revolution. Carbon Revolution claims that their wheels are 40–50% lighter than aluminium ones, weighing in at 18 pounds each. Car wheels can easily weigh 20–40 pounds each, making them a considerable contributor to a vehicle’s weight. The lightweight carbon fiber wheels also help by reducing rotational inertia (inertia is an object’s resistance to a change in velocity, such as acceleration).

Green Car Congress comments:

‘reated specifically for motorsport and aerospace applications where extreme temperature conditions are encountered, Carbon Revolution’s thermal barrier coating system uses a multistage, multimaterial coating formulation that provides an excellent thermal barrier.

Using a plasma arc gun to liquefy a ceramic material, the wheels are coated at critical points around the inner wheel ‘barrel’ and on the back of the spokes. The result is a thin, nearly diamond-hard coating that reliably shields the resin from heat—reducing maximum wheel temperatures and allowing continuous track use by even the most aggressive drivers.’ The coating had to be developed to meet Ford’s durability requirements.

Carbon fiber wheels aren’t only useful to sports cars like the Ford Shelby GT350R, of course. Weight reductions provide performance improvements to any type of vehicle. Carbon fiber technologies have been gradually making their way into the mainstream. If the cost of these composite material technologies come down enough in the near future, you may see some very lightweight cars in your lifetime!

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About the Author

writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is:

  • Offgridman

    “Car wheels can easily weigh 20–40 pounds each, making them a considerable contributor to a vehicle’s weight.”
    This seems to be somewhat of an exaggeration, reducing the weight of the wheels from 160 lb (in the worst case) down to 64 lbs is not going to make a lot of difference in a vehicle weighing 2,000 — 4,000 lbs.
    Something that is much more important in getting the best mpg or range from your vehicle, as well as making the tires last longer is maintaining the right air pressure and getting them spin balanced on a regular basis.
    Can you go to your local tire shop or garage to get these new carbon wheels balanced? Or is it going to be necessary to go to the dealership (at a higher cost, in my experience) to get this basic maintenance done now?

    • Wayne Williamson

      good point on the balancing. Just got new tires and the stupid lead weights on the rims suck.

  • Frank

    Every time a company produces carbon fiber products, they pay engineers to try and figure out how to make them better and cheaper. The cheaper it gets, the more companies try to use it.

  • Matt

    Cost is the block to seeing this in a lot more cars.

  • Mike333

    Those should be on the CMax, to reduce weight.
    By the way when is that CMax going to get a better battery, Nissan has updated the Leaf like 3 times already.

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