Carbon fiber is amazingly light and strong, which makes it ideal for automotive applications, but it is also amazingly expensive, which means that it's only seen in exotic machines like the McLaren MP4-12C. Basically, we all want it, but we can't all afford it.

Ford is working to change that. In addition to figuring out ways to reduce the time and expense of making carbon fiber, Ford is also working on reducing the time and expense of painting carbon fiber, which is significantly more difficult than painting metals. The goal is to be able to put this material into cars that cost less than $20,000. We'd sure like to see a Focus with a carbon fiber hood like the one shown above go into production.

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[via Ford]