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Ford shows off its light-weighting strategy with Lightweight Concept

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On: Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 10:39AM | By: Chris Weiss

Ford shows off its light-weighting strategy with Lightweight Concept

The "Ford Lightweight Concept" won't win any prizes for naming creativity, but it could very well influence the future of automotive engineering. The concept is a comprehensive approach to cutting weight that uses advanced materials and construction techniques.

The Lightweight Concept picks up where the all-new F-150 leaves off. Revealed at this year's Detroit auto show back in January, the F-150 is some 700 lbs lighter than its predecessor, a feat Ford credits largely to the use of high-strength steel and aluminum alloys.

The Lightweight Concept uses this same type of multi-material design strategy, which Ford dubs "light-weighting." The car follows the lead of consumer electronics, which are constantly losing weight and bulk, combining components made from aluminum, ultra high-strength steels, magnesium, carbon fiber, chemically toughened glass, and advanced lightweight plastics. Instead of focusing on just one aspect of the car, Ford used a holistic approach, applying lightweight materials to the entire car—powertrain, chassis, body, battery, and interior. It calls the concept its most comprehensive blend of advanced materials in a vehicle.

The Lightweight Concept is immediately interesting to the eye, thanks to its colorful look. That look gets even more interesting when you get closer; the design is actually a blueprint of the weight-savings strategies at work underneath. Some of the elements spelled out on the exterior include an aluminum front subframe, carbon fiber seats, 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder engine, and high-strength steel A and B pillars.

"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."

Ford says that the full-size 2013 Fusion base sedan weighs the same as the Fiesta compact, a 25 percent reduction. You can learn a little more about the car and Ford's light-weighting strategy in the video below.

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