Carbon fiber auto parts have become some of the most popular aftermarket parts in the automotive industry. Their lightweight construction, great strength and high impact resistance make them the perfect alternative to traditional metal parts.

However, one of the biggest issues with carbon fiber parts is their expense. Although created from some of the least expensive materials around, the actual process of forming, shaping and hardening carbon fiber parts makes them more expensive that traditional metal ones.

The BMW Partnership

The transition of carbon fiber from specialize material usually reserved for high-performance vehicles is now becoming more mainstream thanks to recent partnerships with powerful companies such as BMW. Carbon fibre producer SGL and BMW have recently announced a new partnership in which they will build a new plant and oversee production of new carbon fiber auto parts. The plant itself will cost a cool $137 million.

The purpose of the investment is to increase production and hopefully lower the cost for BMW carbon fiber parts, especially with the i3 and i8 electric cars currently being produced. In fact, production has slowed on these vehicles considerably which may be due to a lack of carbon fiber parts.

Carbon fiber car accessories are considered vital in keeping down the weight of these vehicles. In addition, the new BMW 7-series carbon fiber parts will be produced at the plant as well for the hood, trunk and roof of the vehicles.

In addition to this new partnership, BMW established an agreement with Boeing in 2012 which resulted in more sharing of carbon fiber parts, recycling and fabrications techniques as well. Boeing now uses carbon fiber in the wings and fuselage for its 787 Dreamliner flagship.

The difficulty in carbon fiber parts has been their very high cost, but with increased production and more refined techniques, the price may come down by as much as 30% and allow other types of products to use this remarkable material as well.

The Louis Vuitton Connection

In addition to BMW creating carbon fiber parts, Louis Vuitton has designed a custom made set of luggage that will perfectly fit into the trunk of the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid. In addition to the perfect fit, the luggage will be crafted from carbon fiber as well.

Two travel bags, a garment bag and a business case will be made to exacting specification and created using carbon fiber materials. Although expensive, the carbon fiber luggage works in perfect harmony with the i8 since it has many carbon fibers parts in its construction as well. Carbon fiber is very lightweight and impact-resistant, making it the perfect choice as luggage for those who can afford it. At the very least, this set of luggage will arguably be the most stylish ever created from carbon fiber materials.

The future certainly looks bright for carbon fiber parts as more mainstream automotive companies use it for their vehicles and other manufactures take advantage of the unique properties of this product.

Photo credit: BMW Blog