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Ford Motor Co. is partnering with Dow Automotive Systems, a unit of The Dow Chemical Co., to research ways to incorporate advanced carbon-fiber composites into vehicles at production scale.

Ford says it is looking at a range of new materials, as well as enhanced design processes and new manufacturing techniques that can decrease vehicle weight while maintaining safety and quality standards. The Ford and Dow development teams will initially focus on finding a cost-effective source of automotive-grade carbon fiber and develop component manufacturing methods for high-volume automotive applications.

Ford has noted that it is aiming to cut the weight of new cars and trucks by up to 750 pounds by the end of the decade in order to improve fuel efficiency.

"Reducing weight will benefit the efficiency of every Ford vehicle," says Paul Mascarenas, Ford's chief technical officer and vice president of research and innovation. "However, it's particularly critical to improving the range of plug-in hybrid and battery-electric vehicles."

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