- Ford Lightweight Concept vehicle represents Ford’s ongoing research for future light-weighting and advanced materials applications, building on the all-new Ford F-150, which sheds up to 700 pounds through use of high-strength steel and aluminum alloys
- Light-weighting is key component in Ford’s Blueprint for Sustainability; mixed-materials research vehicle explores how advanced materials might be applied for future high-volume vehicle production for better performance and gas mileage, and carbon dioxide reduction
- Ford Lightweight Concept reduces the weight of a 2013 Fusion to that of a Ford Fiesta, resulting in a nearly 25 percent weight reduction
- Mixed-materials research vehicle developed with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Program, together with Cosma International – a subsidiary of Magna International
DUBAI, UAE, 24 June 2014 – Ford Motor Company recently unveiled its Lightweight Concept vehicle, which uses advanced materials to explore future weight-reduction solutions that could improve performance and fuel efficiency while reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
The vehicle represents the latest phase of Ford’s research into developing sustainable technology solutions that are affordable for consumers and can be produced in large volumes across the product lineup. This research has also led to dramatic weight reductions of up to 700 pounds in the all-new F-150. The 2015 F-150 sheds weight through the use of high-strength steel and aluminum, enabling it to tow more, haul more, accelerate quicker and stop shorter – all with improved gas mileage.
“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.”
Light-weighting is a key component in Ford’s Blueprint for Sustainability, which integrates sustainability into the business plan for the long-term preservation and enhancement of environmental, social and financial capital. The introduction and incorporation of lightweight materials into vehicle construction helps meet the goal of reducing weight to achieve better fuel economy for consumers while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Ford research into improved efficiency through weight reduction with advanced materials including new metals, alloys and composites began more than 25 years ago. This research produced the breakthrough Aluminum Intensive Vehicle program in 1992 and all-aluminum high-performance Ford GT in 2005.
Along with other fuel-efficiency technologies, light-weighting is fundamental to Ford’s efforts to stabilize carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere at 450 parts per million – the level many scientists, businesses and governmental agencies believe may avoid the most serious effects of climate change.
Holistic approach to light-weighting
As consumer electronics like cellphones and tablets become more lightweight, so does the ultimate mobile device – the vehicle. Ford’s Lightweight Concept uses many of the same advanced materials found in lightweight electronics, including aluminum and chemically toughened glass.
Ford engineers took a holistic approach to weight reduction by incorporating advanced materials into the entire design of the vehicle, including powertrain, chassis, body, battery and interior features such as seats. Ford’s Lightweight Concept represents its most comprehensive blend of advanced materials yet in one vehicle, including aluminum, ultra-high-strength steel, magnesium and carbon fiber.
The research vehicle was developed with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Program, together with Cosma International – a subsidiary of Magna International – to illustrate long-term potential light-weighting solutions. Magna’s design and development of the multi-material body-in-white, closures and chassis components are a significant contribution in light-weighting the concept vehicle.
“Our goal was to investigate how to design and build a mixed-materials, lightweight vehicle that could potentially be produced in high volume, while providing the same level of safety, durability and toughness as our vehicles on the road today,” said Matt Zaluzec, Ford technical leader, Global Materials and Manufacturing Research. “There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to light-weighting. The Lightweight Concept gives us the platform to continue to explore the right mix of materials and applications for future vehicles.”
Other industries have incorporated lighter-weight advanced materials to achieve greater fuel economy, speed and performance. The transportation industry uses advanced materials including aluminum and high-strength steel in heavy trucks and 18-wheelers. Aviation and aerospace industries – commercial and military – make extensive use of composite, mixed materials, including aluminum and carbon fiber, to reduce weight and maximize fuel efficiency. The rail industry makes extensive use of lightweight materials to reduce weight in high-speed and bullet trains.
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 180,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information about Ford and its products worldwide please visit www.corporate.ford.com.
Ford’s history in the Middle East goes back more than 60 years. The company’s local importer-dealers operate more than 155 facilities in the region and directly employ more than 7,000 people, the majority of whom are Arab Nationals. For more information on Ford Middle East, please visit www.me.ford.com
Ford Middle East is also a responsible corporate citizen with currently three CSR initiatives running in the region including the Ford Motor Company Conservation & Environmental Grants, Ford Warriors in Pink® breast cancer awareness campaign and Ford Driving Skills for Life safe driving awareness programme for young drivers and teens.
The Ford Grants is a grass-root level initiative that has offered US$1.3million in grants to more than 150 Middle Eastern environmental projects since 2000. Ford Warriors in Pink® is a breast cancer community-based awareness initiative recognising the strength and courage it takes to deal with the everyday challenges of battling breast cancer throughout the year. Ford Driving Skills for Life is a free programme designed to impart safe driving practices to students to help improve their road safety record.