Carbon fiber has been in use for many years in the automotive industry in the name of performance, but Ford is trying to bring this lightweight material to the masses in the name of fuel economy. As a part of the German-funded Hightech.NRW project that began in 2010, Ford and Dow Automotive Systems have been trying to come up with a way to make carbon fiber feasible for everyday cars.
Michael Arbaugh, chief designer of Ford interiors, describes center console space as "oceanfront property" – already fully populated, with more tenants trying to move in every year. Speaking to the Automotive Press Association in Detroit, Arbaugh said one tenant he'd like to evict is the CD player because it's dead weight for audio Luddites.
As the automotive industry continually searches for methods to reduce weight from vehicles, even the lowly seat has finally gotten itself a makeover. Lear Technologies claims that its new Evolution Seat can cut weight by as much as 25 pounds while maintaining all the bum-cushioning comforts afforded by a traditional seat. Lear claims that the seat integrates seven patented technologies that combine to offer a safe, environmentally friendly place to plunk yourself into for a ride.
Affordability as the watchword Tuesday as automotive engineers at the SAE World Congress discussed how to meet the new 2016 corporate average fuel economy standards. Automakers will have to get their fleets to an average of 34.1 miles per gallon (35.5 equivalent with other factors for the EPA CO2 limits). Most automakers are already well on their way to this level with their next-generation designs. However, to do it they will have to make improvements to virtually every model in the entire flee
The next generation of BMW's 3-series looks like it will get some major revisions when it arrives in about two years. The new model is expected to be the first in the range to get new turbocharged three cylinder engines in both gas and diesel variants. The three-cylinder engines will likely be 1.5-liter units that are essentially half of the latest generation's inline sixes.
The next generation BMW 3-series is set to get some major revisions when it arrives in two year's time. The new model is expected to be the first in the range to get a line of turbocharged three-cylinder engines in both gas and diesel variants, and will likely be 1.5-liter units -- essentially halved versions of the latest generation inline-sixes.
French seat manufacturer Faurecia has announced a new seat design that eliminates completely the use of polyurethane foam. The model, called Sustainable Comfort Seat, has two sheets of injection-molded thermoplastic polyurethane instead of classic foam. The new process not only saves weight, it's 17 percent (30 mm or 1 1/4 inches) thinner than standard seats, which gives backseat passengers a bit more legroom. The metallic structure is also replaced by injection-molded nylon and long-glass-fiber
The "zoom-zoom" brand is, as always, just a little bit different from everyone else. While most of its Japanese competitors are focused on building hybrids or shifting to plug-ins of various types, Mazda is taking what it hopes will be a more cost effective approach: losing weight and going diesel. One path that Mazda has already started down with the latest editions of the 2 and 3 is weight reduction. By 2011, its next round of models are expected to loose at least 220 pounds with a similar red
The cars built off of Audi's "B8" platform, including the A4 sedan, A5 coupe and their derivatives, have much to recommend them. Light weight is not among those characteristics. The lowest mass four cylinder front wheel drive A4 sedan weighs in at nearly 3,600 pounds and the V8-powered AWD S5 runs nearly 4,100 pounds. For mid-sized cars of very reasonable dimensions, these are prodigious numbers. Of course, modern safety regulations feed into this as does the continuing proliferation of feature
Hyundai is already near the top of the fuel economy ranks in the U.S. market, but that's not enough to meet future requirements. Currently, Hyundai trails only Honda and Toyota in the CAFE race. Going forward, Hyundai plans to upgrade its powertrains and reduce mass to get its conventional vehicles to use less fuel. On the propulsion front, the Korean manufacturer plans to shift to direct injection with both normally aspirated and turbocharged engines. Sister brand Kia already showed the Koup co
With its most recent entries, the mid-sized 6 and sub-compact 2, Mazda has demonstrated that new generations of cars don't necessarily have to get heavier. Each of the recently introduced new models are at least 100 lbs lighter than the predecessors. For its next generation of new cars, Mazda intends to step up its game even more, aiming for reductions of over 400 lbs. Mazda engineers will completely re-examine the structural design of the cars. One of the areas of focus will be to direct crash
Mazda has declared that by the middle of the decade they will have replaced their entire powertrain lineup and cut fuel consumption by 30 percent. On the powertrain side, engines will be upgraded across the board including a new direct injected wankel rotary. In 2009, a new Smart Idle Stop system will debut that restarts the engine using the direct injection system instead of the starter. Fuel will be sprayed directly into the cylinder and ignited to get the pistons moving. New gas engines will
The philosophy of Lotus founder Colin Chapman was always to make his cars as light as possible. He is reported to have said at various times "to add speed, add lightness" and "simplicate, than add lightness." Over the years, Lotus cars have often been among the lightest of their kind and innovations in weight reduction continue to this day. The work that Lotus has done in developing low mass vehicle structures for cars like the Lotus Elise and the Tesla Roadster is set to expand with the acquisi
The current GMT920 full-size SUVs from General Motors are very likely to be the last of their kind from the Detroit automaker. Even though new fuel economy standards give the big trucks a break based on their footprint, radical changes are likely for the next-generation models. A fully-equipped Tahoe is well over 5,500lbs and a big part of reducing fuel consumption in the next few years will be weight reduction. One step in that direction will be a shift from the body on frame designs these vehi