The push for better fuel economy is helping to drive the movement toward lighter weight vehicles. Consumer demand for more content, such as infotainment systems, leather seats and larger wheels, adds more weight to the car. Automakers are then under pressure to cut weight elsewhere throughout the body of a vehicle in order to improve fuel efficiency. This new diet requires new materials such as aluminum, magnesium and carbon fiber, as every pound counts.
The estimated 700 lb weight loss in Ford’s best-selling truck helps the vehicle to “tow more, haul more, accelerate quicker and stop shorter,” while “contributing to efficiency,” Ford said on Monday. The EPA has not yet published fuel economy numbers on the 2015 F-150.
BMW said its 2015 BMW M4 Coupe has a curb weight of around 3,300 pounds, “thanks to the rigorous application of intelligent lightweight design measures.” This reflects a weight savings of around 176 pounds over a comparably equipped predecessor model, according to the automaker.
The weight was reduced through the use of lightweight materials, such as carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic and aluminum on a number of chassis and body components. The 2015 BMW M3 and M4 feature a carbon roof. The cars are on display at the Detroit auto show.
Another car in the BMW lineup also puts the emphasis on light weight. The electric 2014 BMW i3 features a body made of carbon fiber. The automaker says this super-light vehicle gets more miles on a charge than its competitors.
An all-aluminum body and chassis let Land Rover shave about 800 pounds off the 2014 Range Rover Sport.
The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, which debuted at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, features lightweight materials, including an aluminum frame, carbon-fiber hood and a removable roof panel on coupes.
Edmunds says: As this trend picks up speed, “lightweight” is becoming a major marketing point, a good thing for car shoppers concerned about fuel economy.