Ford’s timing couldn’t be better. With the federal government introducing its lofty new emissions cap this week, the Detroit automaker is in the news cycle as well. The company has announced a Lightweight Concept vehicle.
Just how much weight does it shed? To put it one way: a 2013 Fusion is trimmed by a quarter of its mass, weighing as much as a Fiesta. To achieve the eyebrow-raising results, Ford is using high-strength steel and aluminum that were applied in the new 2015 F-150 and shed 700 pounds from the heavy-duty pickup.
The concept car serves as a glimpse into Ford’s focus on lightweighting in the future, similar to its applied research that led to Aluminum Intensive Vehicle program in 1992 and the all-aluminum high-performance Ford GT in 2005.
The Lightweight Concept vehicle construction was guided by a “holistic approach,” according to a Ford statement, “incorporating advanced materials into the entire design of the vehicle, including powertrain, chassis, body, battery and interior features such as seats.”
Ford partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Program and Cosma International (a subsidiary of Magna International) to produce the concept. Magna contributed “design and development of the multi-material body-in-white, closures and chassis components.”
“There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to light-weighting,” said Matt Zaluzec, Ford technical leader, Global Materials and Manufacturing Research. “The Lightweight Concept gives us the platform to continue to explore the right mix of materials and applications for future vehicles.”
Photo Credit: Ford