Carbon Fiber in Interior Car Design

Carbon Fiber in Interior Car Design

The industry of automobile manufacturing has changed a lot in the past years, thanks to the innovations of technology. There is a recent trend of using lightweight materials like carbon fiber for the interior design of vehicles.

carbon fiber interior with steering wheel of Honda Civic

Why Carbon Fiber for Interior Car Design?

The CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced polymer) is also known as carbon fiber laminates. This material makes vehicles more efficient in terms of fuel, lighter, and at the same time, safer. These laminates are very sturdy because a lot of pure carbon threads are woven into them. The polymer is extra reinforced by epoxy resin or plastic. 


Central console of Mecedess G class Brabus red carbon fiber


The density of the carbon fiber is just around 1.3 to 1.5 g/cc. This makes carbon fiber even lighter than magnesium, which in the past was considered to be the lightest material used for various structures. Indeed, carbon laminates are still very expensive, but this is so because their production is either done manually or by robots. Adding to this is the time that is required for the polymer to get solid – namely 24 to 50 hours.

What is the Purpose of Using Carbon Fiber in the Interior of a Vehicle?

Nowadays, only high-performance race cars are entirely made of carbon fiber laminates as they rely on acceleration and faster speed. Some vehicles that have their whole bodies made of CFRP are McLaren 570S, Alfa Romeo 4C, Porsche 918, and Ford GT. 


Carbon fiber interior Nissan GTR R35


However, their production takes a lot of time and effort, which makes their price extremely high. Other cars that are also made of carbon fiber are the electric ones because using CFRP increases the life of their batteries. 

People are becoming more and more impressed by the appearance of carbon laminates, and this leads to using this material for some cosmetic applications. In the past, to get rid of unwanted weight, the car manufacturers of high-performance vehicles removed some of the parts from the car's interior. Such components were the rear seats or radios. Others were made of weird materials. For example, the door handles were made of nylon strings. 


Carbon fiber interior door details of BMW


Luckily, for some of the cars today, the case is not the same as in the past. The use of CFRP for the inside parts of the car leads to additional saving of weight. So drivers can now afford to have a radio or a navigation system in the vehicle as the carbon fiber compensates for the extra weight. In addition to this, carbon laminates also make the interior of the car look fancy and stylish.

The Gran Turismo MC is another car that allows the opportunity of having a carbon laminate trim for some of its inside parts. For example:

  • The steering wheel
  • The paddle shifters
  • The front dashboard
  • The inserts in the side doors 


Mercedes S class carbon fiber interior


All of these can be trimmed with carbon fiber. However, in this case, the only reason this material is used is the appearance as most of the parts that are trimmed replace wood or plastic parts that are not much heavier than carbon fiber. 


Photos: Own archive; Bat Chavo Inside

Related Post