Ford Fusion loses 25% of its weight in Lightweight Concept version – Los Angeles Times

Posted: Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Ford Motor Co. has unveiled a new lightweight concept sedan, containing technology destined for use across the automaker’s lineup.

The Lightweight Concept started life as a 2013 Ford Fusion, but lost 25% of its weight through the use of high-strength steel, aluminum, magnesium and carbon fiber.

The resulting vehicle — about 900 pounds lighter than a standard, 3,600-pound Fusion — weighs about the same as a Ford Fiesta, an economy car two classes down the Ford lineup. Ford expects that the weight loss will translate directly into fuel efficiency gains.

“This is a mid-sized sedan with the fuel efficiency of a very small car,” said Matt Zaluzec, the Ford executive responsible for global materials and manufacturing research.

All automakers are trying to cut weight to save fuel, but few are pursuing the strategy as aggressively as Ford. Cutting weight can have a big effect on efficiency because it enables smaller engines to produce the same performance.

Indeed, Ford installed its tiny 1.0-liter, three-cylinder engine in the Lightweight Concept. The same engine is rated at up to 45 miles per gallon in the much smaller Fiesta hatchback.

So far, Ford has built just six of the Lightweight Concepts, and they aren’t for sale. But the automaker has already made a huge bet on weight-saving technology with its latest Ford F-150 pickup, the bestselling vehicle in America. The truck, redesigned for 2015, shed 700 pounds through extensive use of aluminum throughout the body.

The aluminum enables the truck to “tow more, haul more, accelerate quicker and stop shorter, with improved gas mileage,” according to Ford.

Using aluminum on such a high-volume seller will help Ford bring down the price of the technology for wider use.

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