When it comes to pure performance, there's only one thing better than adding power and that's removing weight. It helps you go faster, turn better and consume less fuel. Today, almost everyone is looking towards downsizing engines with smaller capacities and small turbos help the engine still produce big power. Ford has been working particularly hard in this category and their multiple award winning EcoBoost engines are the fruit of this effort. Now the manufacturer has shown off a concept that deals with the other aspects of making efficient vehicles - weight saving.
Ford made extensive use of aluminum in the 2015 F-150. They managed to shave off a highly impressive 350 odd kilos off the heavy behemoth. The Lightweight Concept Car (henceforth LCC) further explores those weight saving possibilities. The concept is built on a Ford Fusion sedan. The company has managed to shave off a massive 25 per cent of the Fusion's weight, matching the weight of the considerably smaller Fiesta hatchback.
So how have they achieved this?Aluminium of course plays an important role, as it did in the F-150 and the all aluminium Ford GT supercar of 2005. Ford also looked to modern day devices like mobile phones and tablets, all of which have been getting steadily smaller as the years go by. Resultantly, materials like chemically toughened glass and high strength but light weight plastics were extensively used in the LCC. Ford also looked at the sports car world's favourite material - carbon fibre. In addition, ultra high strength steel and magnesium were strategically used.
The LCC project was carried out not to simply see how light a vehicle can get. If that was the case the LCC would have been far lighter. No, what Ford set out to do was to see how light they could make a vehicle while still making it commercially viable to mass produce.
Consumers today want better fuel efficiency, but they also want more technology and features in the car, which usually adds weight to the vehicle," said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. 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."