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Researchers work to reduce carbon-fiber cost by 90 percent

by Justin King

With help from Audi and BMW, group claims to be halfway to its goal.

A research group backed by several automakers and the German government has reportedly made significant progress in its goal of reducing carbon-fiber costs by up to 90 percent.

MAI Carbon Cluster Management is working to improve commercial production technologies, through advancements in automation, to make the lightweight material a less costly alternative to steel and aluminum.

"We've certainly reached a halfway point on our cost-cutting target for suitable carbon-fiber parts," project head Klaus Drechsler told Bloomberg in a recent interview.

The group lists dozens of partners, including Audi, BMW and several aerospace companies. Both the auto and aircraft industries have been slowly shifting toward carbon fiber for certain components as the costs continue to slide.

BMW already uses carbon fiber in its i-Series electrified cars and certain M-badged sports cars. The material has been confirmed for the next-generation 7-Series, before eventually arriving in models with lower price tags.

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