• McLaren Monocage II carbon fiber monocoque structure

    When it comes to materials with the most promise in automotive applications, carbon fiber and graphene each rank high on the list. Unlike graphene, however, real-world carbon fiber applications exist today—and they're helping automakers reduce the weight of cars coming tomorrow. There's one big, unfortunate, and somewhat ironic problem with carbon fiber, though: You need to use oil to make it. DON'T MISS: Carbon Fiber In Cars: More Energy To Make, Lower Lifetime Emissions That's where a team of researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory comes in. According to Popular...

  • 2015 Ford F-150
    Aluminum-Body 2015 Ford F-150 Gets 5-Star NHTSA Rating For Crash Safety

    Cutting weight can be one of the most effective tactics to increase fuel economy, but it doesn't necessarily come cheap. The 2015 Ford F-150 pickup, with its aluminum body and bed mounted on a conventional steel frame, represents a huge gamble by Ford on its highest-volume vehicle line. The company...

  • 2012 Tesla Model S body-in-white
    How To Boost Efficiency: Lighter Cars That Carry More People

    Efficiency is a many-splendored thing, and cutting vehicle weight has multiple beneficial effects. A lighter car requires less energy to move, meaning engine output can be lower. This, in turn, requires smaller, lighter powertrain components--which require less-beefy suspensions, further reducing...

  • 2015 BMW i8 construction at Leipzig plant
    Research Backed By BMW Halfway To Carbon-Fiber Cost 90% Lower

    A German firm says it's halfway toward a dramatic reduction in the cost of carbon fiber.

  • 2015 Ford F-150
    Steel Vs Aluminum: Which Wins For Fuel Efficiency AND Cost?

    An influx of high-strength steel could take away aluminum's weight advantage, the steel industry hopes.

  • Carbon Revolution carbon fiber wheels
    Carbon Fiber Wheels Proposed To Cut Weight, Boost Efficiency

    You probably don't think about your car's wheels that much, but to state the exceedingly obvious they're an essential part of every car. They're also surprisingly heavy, as you'll know if you've ever rotated your tires or had to change to a spare at the side of the road. Heaviness is a quality...

  • 2016 Jaguar XE aluminum construction

    There are many routes to improving fuel efficiency in modern cars, but one route in particular seems to be resonating with automakers, automotive engineers and designers: Shedding weight. A survey of 900 automotive engineers and designers conducted by Wards Auto and sponsored by DuPont showed that lightweight materials and weight reduction were a primary focus for hitting future economy and emissions targets. Behind that, 39 percent also said their company was looking into improving the efficiency of conventional powertrains, and over a quarter are now looking into electrification. The latter...

  • Ford Fusion Lightweight Concept
    Ford Fusion Lightweight Concept: How To Make A Car 25 Percent Lighter

    Light weight will soon be big business at Ford. The company's F-150 truck, going aluminum for the first time with the 2015 model, sheds 700 lbs over its predecessor, thanks to its new construction. Ford sells over half a million F-Series every year--big business indeed. This technology and other...

  • TOTI bamboo ECO2 8-passenger taxi in Tabontabon, Philippines
    Could Renewable Bamboo Be As Strong As Carbon Fiber For Lightweight Cars?

    Bamboo is light and strong, but also renewable and more environmentally-friendly than carbon fiber.

  • MINI Superleggera Vision concept
    A MINI Two-Seater Sports Car? Superleggera Vision Teases Us

    MINI has been a huge success story for its parent company BMW. Customers all over the world have fallen for the car's retro looks and wide range of models. But recently, it's fair to say MINIs products have been a bit... well, ugly. While retro works on a small hatchback, it's not necessarily best...

  • 2016 Jaguar XE aluminum construction
    Aluminum Vehicles Save More Energy Than It Takes To Build Them

    So, you've done the right thing: You've decided your next car will be considerably more fuel-efficient than the one you drive now. That's great news. But, have you considered how it's built--and more to the point, what it's built out of? A new peer-reviewed paper from the Oak Ridge National...

  • Magnesium vehicle construction
    Magnesium The Next Material For Lighter, More Efficient Cars

    A car's mass affects virtually every aspect of its performance, handling and efficiency, and reducing it has become an all-encompassing pursuit for carmakers aiming to meet tough new fuel economy targets. High-strength steels, aluminum and even carbon fiber are now widely used, but the industry is...

  • 2015 Volkswagen Golf, at 2013 New York Auto Show

    Volkswagen has made large strides in most areas with the 2015 Golf, but largest of all is the car's weight reduction. Some models are over 200 pounds lighter than their equivalent in the current Golf range, thanks to clever use of stronger steel, lighter components and other weight-saving measures. It's set to get even lighter according to Edmunds (via Motor Authority), as VW adds a carbon fiber roof option to performance versions of the hatchback. The carbon roof will save a not insignificant 18-20 pounds from the car, aiding performance and economy. The weight is removed from the right...

  • 2014 Fiat 500L
    Plastic Car Windows: One Way To Save Weight

    Traditionally, car windows have been made from laminated glass. It's strong, shatter-resistant, and... err... transparent. Obviously. But it's also rather heavy, and as increasingly weight-conscious car manufacturers are looking for ways to shed weight, glass could now be on the diet list. Its...

  • Ford Atlas Concept revealed at 2013 Detroit Auto Show
    Next Ford F-150: Advanced Materials Likely, Hybrid Powertrain Possible

    The new Atlas Concept that Ford Motor Co. [NYSE: F] unveiled at Detroit this past week revealed several interesting technologies that altogether could save fuel (active grille shutters, active wheel shutters, a drop-down air dam, and power running boards) and be useful to serious truck users...

  • 2014 Mazda6 world premiere  -  2012 Moscow Motor Show
    Mazda: We Want Each New Car To Be 220 Pounds Lighter

    While all automakers realise the benefits of making their cars lighter, it's only been relatively recently that some models have actually weighed less than their predecessors. Demands for safety, equipment, larger engines, more comfort and more space have pushed vehicle weight up so far that some...

  • A lightweight Lotus chassis
    Lotus Shows Carmakers How To Shed The Pounds, CARB Agrees

    There's a phrase oft-quoted in the automotive world when the topic of lighter cars is discussed. The phrase, "add lightness", originated from Colin Chapman, founder of Lotus Cars and builder of some of the best sports cars and racing vehicles ever made. And the influence has remained--Lotus still...

  • MercedesSport E-Class Individualization
    Mercedes-Benz E-Class Top Model Goes Carbon Fiber In 2015

    The launch of a new Mercedes-Benz E-Class is always important, given the influence the car has in the luxury sedan sector. We'd be hard-pressed to call it exciting though, rapid AMG models excepted. That could be about to change however, as one example of the model's next generation will be very...

  • Ford's chocolate inspired plastic

    Tightening fuel efficiency and emissions regulations all around the world are pushing automakers to find any way they can to make their cars greener, downsizing engines, reducing internal friction and improving aerodynamics. Another area, and one of the most beneficial as it not only improves fuel economy but also boosts handling and reduces wear and tear, is weight reduction. In the recent past we’ve seen the proliferation of lightweight carbon fiber used in cars but now one automaker, Ford, is getting even more innovative. Ford has taken inspiration from a chocolate bar to produce...

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