Ford Motor Company has unveiled its Lightweight Concept vehicle, which uses advanced materials to explore future weight-reduction solutions.
The vehicle could improve performance and fuel efficiency while reducing carbon dioxide emissions, said a statement.
It 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 line-up, it said.
The research has also led to weight reductions of up to 700 pounds in the all-new F-150.
The 2015 F-150 sheds weight through the use of high-strength steel and aluminium, enabling it to tow more, haul more, accelerate quicker and stop shorter – all with improved gas mileage.
Ford’s Lightweight Concept uses many of the same advance materieals found in lightweight electronics such as cellphones and tablets, including aluminium and chemically toughened glass.
These materials have been incorporated into the entire design of the vehicle, including powertrain, chassis, body, battery and interior features such as seats.
It represents its most comprehensive blend of advanced materials yet in one vehicle, including aluminum, ultra-high-strength steel, magnesium and carbon fibre.
The research vehicle was developed with the US Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Program, together with Cosma International, a subsidiary of Magna International, to illustrate long-term potential light-weighting solutions.
Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, said: “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.”
Light-weighting is a key component in Ford’s Blueprint for Sustainability, which integrates sustainability into the business plan for the long-term preservation and enhancement of environmental, social and financial capital, said the statement.
The introduction and incorporation of lightweight materials into vehicle construction helps meet the goal of reducing weight to achieve better fuel economy for consumers while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Matt Zaluzec, Ford technical leader, Global Materials and Manufacturing Research, said: “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.”
Other industries that have incorporated lighter-weight advanced materials to achieve greater fuel economy, speed and performance, include aviation and aerospace industries and rail industry.