Ford has 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 Ford Lightweight Concept vehicle reduces the weight of a 2013 Fusion to that of a Ford Fiesta, resulting in a nearly 25 percent weight reduction.
Ford engineers took a holistic approach to weight reduction by incorporating advanced materials into the entire design of the vehicle, including powertrain, chassis, body, battery and interior features such as seats. This Lightweight Concept vehicle represents its most comprehensive blend of advanced materials yet in one vehicle, including strategic application of aluminum, ultra-high-strength steels, magnesium and carbon fiber. In fact, carbon fiber is used in several places to reduce weight, including seat frames, wheels and even the oil pan.
“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 light-weighting. The Lightweight Concept gives us the platform to continue to explore the right mix of materials and applications for future vehicles.”
The vehicle was developed in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Program, together with Cosma International – a subsidiary of Magna International.