Editorials Technology

The Future of Carbon Fiber Cars on African Roads by 2025

Every year, we see super stunning automobiles imported in Africa from different car manufacturers around the world, but it is only a few of these cars that make the limelight. Majority of Africans go for fairly used cars because of their afford abilities but that doesn’t change the fact that Africans are car freaks, women not excluded.  We are familiar with the steel made cars and some of us are proud that these cars were made for the African roads that have rough terrain.  What most of us are not aware is that even the steel cars are gradually been replaced with the semi-plastic cars.

The automobile industry is changing the way we see cars with  the introduction of new technologies like the use of carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites to manufacture the future of  automobile models has become a trend .

Cars made with steel are way too cheap compared to carbon fiber. It is very easy to stamp this sheet of steels into shape. This is the more reason why Africans always buy this set of cars compared to the ones that are manufactured with carbon fiber.

For those of us who are not aware of what carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites is, it can be also referred to as carbon-fiber laminates that has become the materials for manufacturing cars that are lighter, safer and reduce fuel consumption. The latter is what attracts car owners to these types of vehicles. The cars manufactured with carbon laminate are known to be extremely stiff and strong because the woven layers are nearly pure carbon fibers that have been joined by hardened plastic.

Cars made of carbon fiber composite are light in weight and the end goal is to perform exceptionally well on the highways because of their top speeds, increase battery life and faster acceleration.  Let us come home a little before we talk more about these cars that are very expensive to purchase and rare to see in Africa.

Plastics are no longer new in the automobile industry because approximately 10% of the cars have plastics by weight while the other half are made from plastics.

Talk of the door panels, bumpers, dashboards, lighting insulation, carpeting, seating, parts that are under the hood and many more.  Yet, most of these listed parts are not made of CFRP.  The introduction of CFRP in producing cars have been slow and also an expensive process, which is the reason we see few of them in performance or luxury cars.

Most of us are itching to know the type of cars that fall into this CFRP category. A few of these cars include; BMW i8, Alfa Romeo 4C, McLaren 570S ,Ascari KZ1,Aston Martin One-77,BMW i3,Ferrari Enzo,Ford GT,  Koenigsegg Regera and many more.

There is a strong indication that automobile companies may adapt the use of CFRPs by 2025, quite a long time to prepare Africa for these cars. The cost, maintenance and the African roads are challenges that most of super fast cars experience in the country.

Africans are not really scared of the cost of getting these cars home, but the challenges of maintaining the cars on the roads and servicing them always have always been the talk. We can only be comfortable to import these cars in their larger numbers if the roads have been fully taken care of to accommodate cars that are low on the ground.