In 1992, when the Formula One–focused engineering shop McLaren Automotive built the first street-legal carbon-fiber supercar, the body took 3,000 hours to mold and the car cost $1 million. The new McLaren MP4-12C took only four hours to mold and costs $229,000. The high cost of carbon fiber is largely a function of the molding process, which occurs in expensive-to-run, power-sucking ovens. By streamlining that process, McLaren dramatically reduced its costs—and that has implications beyond making supercars less expensive. Cutting the cost of carbon fiber even further could make the material economical for use in mass-market cars, improving performance and fuel efficiency for people other than just exotic-car collectors.
How much energy can heating carbon in to sheets of car-shaped forms can be used? Not $200K worth, that's for sure. The price can and should come down a LOT more to make this common element, easily meltable and moldable, in to a lighter, stronger, safer car body. Someone needs to look in to the price gouging going on.
Pike, Buddy, have you priced a Lamborghini lately? A Ferrari? McLaren did an outstanding job of finding a way to save over $700K! that's over $500K more than you are whining about. Jeeze. If your comment relates to the cost of the car, I'll fork over the $230K gladly (as soon as I find it -- it's around here somewhere) over the cost of a comparable Lambo. McLaren is selling a car, not carbon fiber technology -- which they already cut $700+K out of. Dude. Pay attention.