When it comes to Ford it all started with F-150 that offered significantly improved body with much more aluminum. As a result we are getting about 700 pounds lighter vehicle and the similar changes are now offered in the Ford Fusion Lightweight Concept that reduces total weight for about 25 percent.
To achieve this reduction Ford used aluminum, magnesium, high strength steel and carbon fiber. Additional on this concept we have narrow wheels and tires plus polycarbonate glazing. Furthermore we have oil pan of carbon fiber, coil springs of hollow and alloy steel, aluminum coated brake rotors, hollow stabilizer bars and much more.
Total weight of Ford Fusion Lightweight Concept vehicle and similar models that would receive this treatment will be about 2400 pounds which is about 800 pounds less than the lightest model of Fusion and quite comparable to significantly smaller Fiesta. End result is much lower fuel consumption which is more or less main goal of this concept but that is not all. Other benefits include better handling and even the possibility to offer Fusion with smaller 1.0 liter three cylinder EcoBoost turbocharged engine which is again lighter than currently implemented 1.5 EcoBoost unit.
Ford Fusion Lightweight Concept
Biggest problem with this concept is the technology that is used for creation. Materials that reduce weight for this much are significantly more expensive and the total price of the vehicle would be much higher than it is the case with currently offered Fusion models. About 15 years ago we were able to see few concepts that suggested if weight reduction is offered it would significantly lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
Even it comes with significant improvements price is what will not allow it to come into production any time soon, at least not all of those improvements. We are sure that Ford will bring some of the solutions to production but we are not sure in which amount because they are currently testing possibilities and assessing where could be biggest gains if changes are made. It will be interesting to see the response of other car makers that will certainly need to follow Ford in this segment to stay competitive and even to achieve better results to attract more buyers to their brand.
Here is just a simple and short comparison, steel seat frame costs about $12 to produce while the same made of carbon fiber would be priced to $53 to $73. This is only one segment and possibility where we can see significant increase. It is also sure that these lighter materials will not be enough to reduce fuel consumption to 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy of 54.5 mpg. To achieve this there will be need to change many things regarding transmission, hybrid parts of powertrains and similar.
Future Fusion Changes
There is no doubt that this will increase the price of vehicles but the benefits are quite obvious. Lower fuel consumption means lower fuel bill, better performances and better handling are things that most drivers will like a lot. Even at this point results that are achievable were far from reach only ten years ago and Ford Fusion Lightweight Concept proves that car makers can do a lot to further lower fuel consumption.