Just several months after introducing the all-aluminum new F-150, Ford Motor Company is now aiming to implement that same lightweighting construction to sedans.
The automaker unveiled its Lightweight Concept vehicle, which uses advanced materials to explore future weight-reduction solutions that could improve performance and fuel efficiency while reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The design reduces the weight of a 2013 Fusion to that of the smaller Ford Fiesta, resulting in a nearly 25 percent weight reduction.
The vehicle represents the latest phase of Ford’s research into developing sustainable technology solutions that are affordable for consumers and can be produced in large volumes across the product lineup. This research has also led to a weight reduction of up to 700 pounds in the all-new F-150.
“Consumers today want better fuel efficiency, but they also want more technology and features in the car, which usually adds weight to the vehicle,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “A focus on lightweighting will be fundamental to our industry for years to come, and we are investigating many advanced materials applications as possible solutions for weight reduction in our vehicles.”
To reduce weight, Ford engineers incorporated advanced materials into the entire design of the vehicle, including power train, chassis, body, battery and interior features such as seats.
The research vehicle was developed with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Program, together with Cosma International a subsidiary of Magna International to illustrate long-term potential light-weighting solutions.
“Our goal was to investigate how to design and build a mixed-materials, lightweight vehicle that could potentially be produced in high volume, while providing the same level of safety, durability and toughness as our vehicles on the road today,” said Matt Zaluzec, Ford technical leader, Global Materials and Manufacturing Research. “There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to lightweighting. The Lightweight Concept gives us the platform to continue to explore the right mix of materials and applications for future vehicles.”