Over past two decades motor vehicles have gotten hundreds of new features and amenities and made big advances in safety in performance. Unfortunately all those cool stability controls, big brakes, air bags, rear seat entertainment systems, heated seats and on and on and on, have one thing in common: weight. Every one of those cool features adds mass. And since Force = Mass * Acceleration (at least at speeds well below the speed of light, but this isn't Physics III so we won't go there today), more mass means more force is required to maintain acceleration. Mass is the enemy of efficiency, performance and to some extent safety.

AutoWeek has an interview with DCX board member in charge of R&D Thomas Weber about climbing vehicle weights. Weber wants to halt the seemingly inexorable climb in vehicle weight, which is particularly difficult as we move to alternative power-trains. Batteries are heavy, even lithium ion types. According to Weber, weights have climbed between one-half of 1 percent and 1 percent per year. Some manufacturers have made progress on some vehicles, such as the latest generation of Jaguar XJ, which dropped several hundred pounds thanks to a switch from steel to aluminum construction. Of course that adds cost, so we will have to pay in some way. Go check out the interview at the Read Link.

[Source: AutoWeek]


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