Text: Eric Tipan / Photos: Ford | posted June 05, 2014 07:39
Takes cues from the new Ford F-150 that shed 700 pounds
Ford’s continued commitment to ‘Blueprint for Sustainability’ is evident in their latest endeavor, the Ford Lightweight Concept vehicle.
Using applications learned in developing the all-new and lighter F-150, which is 700 pounds lighter by using high-strength steel and aluminum alloys, Ford reduced the weight of the Fusion by 25 percent making as light as a Fiesta.
Key to any type of fuel efficiency and sustainability effort is weight management and Ford explored on the use of advanced materials for ‘future high-volume vehicle production for better performance and gas mileage, and carbon dioxide emission reduction.’
“Consumers today want better fuel efficiency, but they also want more technology and features in the car, which usually adds weight to the vehicle. A focus on light-weighting 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,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development.
Ford first delved into the idea of weight reduction using advanced materials like new metals, alloys and composites 25 years ago and all their hard work went into the Aluminum Intensive Vehicle program in 1992 and produced the all-aluminum high-performance Ford GT in 2005.
The Ford Fusion Lightweight Concept has incorporated the use of advanced materials inside and out have greatly reduced the weight of the powertrain, chassis, body, battery and interior features such as seats.
“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. 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.” said Matt Zaluzec, Ford technical leader, Global Materials and Manufacturing Research.