Recently we blogged about vehicles getting heavier and the general consensus was that they were better off with the added safety and improved features of a new car. Now we have Mazda, who has managed to remove 100kg from its new Mazda2 supermini over the previous model. With the weight loss the 1.3L and 1.5L models come in at 955kg and 960kg respectively.
Mazda has now released information on how they achieved these savings with better engineering techniques and a smaller overall car. Reducing the size of the new model – another trend bucked – resulted in a 20kg loss, while the removal of some features also contributed another 20kg. The other 60kg was done by reducing the weight of the front seats (2.5kg), suspension (13kg), front speakers (1kg), and the electrical system at 2.9kg.
Reducing weight has resulted in the car achieving better than expected MPG ratings (53MPG on the combined cycle) and also helped improve agility. Now if only someone could implement the same types of programs on, say, a Cadillac Escalade...
The all-new Mazda2 is the product of a lightweight mindset at Mazda's R & D community. Engineers are striving to reduce the vehicle weight of new Mazda products as a way to lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, while continuing to deliver the agile handling and safety attributes Mazda customers expect. The new Mazda2 is a milestone in this respect: almost 100 kg lighter than the previous Mazda2, it reverses the trend towards ever-heavier vehicles while being safer and even more fun to drive.
Engineering solutions achieved 60 percent of this weight saving, including the savings in the body shell, which has an optimised structure and uses high and ultra-high tensile steels for less weight, with greater rigidity and better crash resistance. Another 20 percent were saved by features adjustments and 20 percent by making the car's exterior dimensions smaller – while employing skilful packaging to retain generous interior dimensions.
Mazda2 engineers reduced weight by:
- use of high and ultra-high tensile steels for lighter (and stronger) body and joint reinforcements
- shortening the trailing arm of the rear suspension and giving the front lower arms an open-section design
- making the bonnet striker assembly smaller, the hinges thinner
- eliminating the underfloor catalyst (1.3-litre model)
- moving the fresh-air inlet to the top of the radiator shroud (doing away with the need for a resonator and baffle)
- making the wiring harness shorter
- changing the door-mounted speaker magnets to neodymium types and making the plastic moulding single-piece
- decreasing the length of the vehicle by 40 mm and height by 55 mm
These weight-saving measures make the new Mazda2 a trendsetter for fuel efficiency and low CO2 emissions. It delivers some of the B-segment's lowest fuel consumption, from just 52.3 mpg on the combined cycle, while producing just 129 g/km of CO2.