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Weight Reduction in Automotive Design and Manufacture

  • November 2013
  • -
  • Supplier Business
  • -
  • 151 pages

Weight reduction is again a priority across the industry, as strict new regulations push for greater vehicle efficiency/CO2 reduction in the US and Europe. From the smallest fasteners to entire vehicle architectures, engineers are wringing excess weight out of new components and systems, while looking for new ways to lighten existing designs.

Although the motivations for and benefits of automotive weight reduction are plentiful, a number of barriers exist to the development of lighter, more streamlined and mass-efficient vehicles. This third edition report looks at policy initiatives, weight saving methods, competition between OEMs, barriers, drivers and government regulation. Fuel economy & CO2 emissions are detailed for the US, EU, Japan, South Korea & China. Vehicle safety & cost implications are also considered along with weight reduction by sector (body structure, chassis, powertrain and interior).

The report also includes a detailed section on materials technology and examines the use of advanced steel, aluminium, magnesium, titanium, carbon fibre, plastics, bio-materials and textiles. Recycling and joining technology are also considered.

Table Of Contents

Weight Reduction in Automotive Design and Manufacture
• The effect of policy initiatives
• Weight saving methods
• Competition between OEMs
• Mass reduction and vehicle lifecycle CO2 emissions
• Barriers to weight reduction
Process development
Cost considerations

The drivers for lightweighting
• Government regulation
• Fuel economy and CO2 emissions
The European Union
The United States
Other countries
Testing regimes
• Vehicle safety
• Cost implications
• Consumer behaviour
Lightweighting as part of the solution
• Lifecycle analysis - the holistic approach

Historic perspective

Weight reduction by sector
• Body-in-white, closures and hang-ons
• Powertrain
• Chassis
• Interiors

Materials technology
• Developing material technology
• Advanced steel developments
Competition from other materials
The Future Steel Vehicle Programme
Steel forming technology

• Advanced aluminium alloys
• Aluminium and safety
• Growth opportunities for aluminium
Powertrain applications
Chassis applications
Body applications
Changing aluminium properties using carbon nanotubes
• Recycling

Price volatility
Demand for magnesium
Magnesium advantages
Magnesium extraction
Alloy and process development
Magnesium sheet production and stamping

• Titanium engine applications
• Titanium chassis applications
Brake Systems
Exhaust Systems
Springs, bolts and fasteners
• Lowering the cost of titanium

Composite and plastic materials
• Carbon fibre
Strategic interest from OEMs
Supply-side constraints
• Carbon fibre cost reduction
Process development
• Thermocomposite materials
Thermoset versus thermoplastic
• Plastics
• Sheet moulding compound (SMC)
• Nano-scale materials
• Honeycomb structures
Process development

Hybrid materials technology

• Challenges in bio-material application
• Bio-based materials
• Current and future applications
• Future application

• Woven and knitted fabrics

New ways of recycling

Joining technology
• Welding
Laser welding
Magnetic pulse welding
Plasma arc welding
Deformation resistance welding
Ultrasonic aluminium welding
Friction stir welding
Laser-Assisted Friction Stir Welding
• Adhesive bonding
Hybrid bonding
• Riveting
Self-piercing rivets


Figure 1: Potential further gains in vehicle efficiency
Figure 2: Segment average kerb weights 1990 - 2012 (Europe)
Figure 3: US light duty vehicle trends for weight, acceleration, fuel economy, and weight-adjusted fuel economy for model years 1975-2009 (US EPA, 2009 data)
Figure 4: Weight reduction in the current weight-based CO2 target system (left) and in a size based system (right)
Figure 5: Average CO2 emissions levels for new passenger cars in the EU
Figure 6: CO2 emissions for model year 2008 hybrids and their non-hybrid counterparts
Figure 7: The cost of fuel efficiency gains through weight reduction compared to other technologies
Figure 8: Fiat's C-Evo Platform
Figure 9: North American curb weight forecast
Figure 10: The use phase dominates lifecycle vehicle emissions
Figure 11: Analysing lifetime greenhouse gas effects
Figure 12: Relative CO2 reduction benefits vs. relative cost
Figure 13: Drivers and areas of focus for vehicle weight reduction
Figure 14: Global mandatory automobile efficiency and GHG standards
Figure 15: Methods for reducing CO2 output
Figure 16: Impact of vehicle weight on fuel consumption
Figure 17: CO2 (g/km) performance and standards in the EU new cars 1994 - 2011
Figure 18: The effect of alternative German proposals for CO2 reduction regulation for Europe
Figure 19: US targets for future GHG reductions (% reduction from 2005 levels)
Figure 20: Average fuel efficiency 2010 and 2015 targets for gasoline vehicles
Figure 21: Global passenger car and light vehicles emission legislation progress 2005 - 2025
Figure 22: Comparison of different test regimes for EU, US and Japan
Figure 23: Comparison of different fuel efficiency regulations and test regimes
Figure 24: US mass of passenger cars 1975 - 2010 with weight attributed to safety, emissions, comfort and convenience features
Figure 25: Relative crash safety of mass reduced SUV and car combinations
Figure 26: Weight and cost comparison for automotive components
Figure 27: Challenges with materials application
Figure 28: Changing cost implications in improving weight performance
Figure 29: Average profit per vehicle versus CO2 compliance costs
Figure 30: Average price of gasoline in the US 2002 to 2012
Figure 31: Average price of gasoline, diesel and natural gas in the US 2010 to 2012
Figure 32: US Regular Gasoline prices $/gallon, January 2011 to June 2013
Figure 33: Evolution of average Al content of passenger cars in Europe
Figure 34: Progress in weight reduction through materials technology
Figure 35: A schematic illustrating lifecycle considerations for CO2 equivalent
Figure 36: Materials production average greenhouse gas emissions
Figure 37: Demand shortfall of aluminium from end-of-life recycling
Figure 38: Lower fuel consumption outweighs additional CO2 burden from lightweight material manufacturing
Figure 39: Lifecycle system analysis schematic
Figure 40: CO2 equivalent output per kWh of electricity produced
Figure 41: Global automotive microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) sensors shipments
Figure 42: Mini segment average kerb weights 1990 - 2012 (Europe)
Figure 43: Lower mid segment average kerb weights 1990 - 2012 (Europe)
Figure 44: Upper mid segment average kerb weights 1990 - 2012 (Europe)
Figure 45: Luxury segment average kerb weights 1990 - 2012 (Europe)
Figure 46: Trends in aluminium use
Figure 47: The multi-material vehicle concept applied to the Audi A8 body-in-white
Figure 48: Aluminium potential and market penetration in Europe
Figure 49: Weight share of modules and their weight increase
Figure 50: Changes in steel usage in BIW application
Figure 51: Front bumper design for the new Fiat Panda delivers 0.88kg weight saving
Figure 52: BIW materials 2006 data and 2015 forecast
Figure 53: Front bumper design for the new Alpha Romeo Giulietta delivers 3.1kg weight saving
Figure 54: Aluminium/ magnesium lightweight design 6 cylinder engine
Figure 55: Engine weight and performance for aluminium and cast iron blocks
Figure 56: 1.0L Ecoboost cylinder head with integrated exhaust manifold
Figure 57: A lightweight strut with a fibreglass wheel carrier
Figure 58: Aston Martin carbon fibre rear spoiler
Figure 59: Cost comparison of lightweight vehicle structures
Figure 60: Areas for chassis weight reduction
Figure 61: Mass reduction in seat design
Figure 62: Contribution to weight reduction
Figure 63: Laser sintered manifold
Figure 64: Implementation of advanced steel alloys over time for Ford models
Figure 65: Overall demand for auto steel and other metals and materials
Figure 66: Advanced high strength steel developments
Figure 67: BIW materials by tensile strength BMW 6 Series
Figure 68: Third generation advanced high strength steel development
Figure 69: Microstructure of TRIP steel
Figure 70: Use of boron steel in BMW's 6 Series BIW
Figure 71: Beyond third generation AHSS; NanoSteel alloys
Figure 72: P-group elements in the periodic table
Figure 73: Elongation versus alloy percent p-group elements conventional high strength steels
Figure 74: Elongation versus alloy percent p-group elements NanoSteel AHSS
Figure 75: Life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of the Future Steel Vehicle (FSV) programme vehicles
Figure 76: Steel portfolio to technology portfolio flow diagram for the FSV programme
Figure 77: Aluminium content per vehicle
Figure 78: Primary aluminium production 2012
Figure 79: Global aluminium production including recycling 2012
Figure 80: US forecast market share of steel and aluminium
Figure 81: Al growth by segment for Europe and North America
Figure 82: Aluminium content by system/ component
Figure 83: Aluminium content in 2012
Figure 84: Aluminium and plastic componentry BMW 7 Series body structure
Figure 85: Aluminium content growth 2009 to 2012
Figure 86: Iso-strength curves for 6000 Series alloys
Figure 87: Composition of 7000 Series alloys
Figure 88: Aluminium front structure
Figure 89: Weight reduction studies
Figure 90: Federal Mogul's Advanced Estoval II piston
Figure 91: Aluminium steering knuckle
Figure 92: Magnesium content per vehicle
Figure 93: Specific strength versus specific stiffness for various materials
Figure 94: Magnesium demand breakdown
Figure 95: Magnesium pricing history
Figure 96: Global magnesium production 1998 and 2011 by region
Figure 97: Potential for weight saving replacing aluminium with magnesium in the powertrain
Figure 98: Typical magnesium die castings
Figure 99: Die cast three cylinder engine block in AM-SC1 alloy
Figure 100: Stamped magnesium tailgate
Figure 101: Thermally formed magnesium alloy sheet trunk lid inner
Figure 102: Potential magnesium applications
Figure 103: Potential magnesium extrusion use
Figure 104: Proportions of different materials - Audi R8
Figure 105: Application of titanium-Metal Matrix Composite (MMC) alloys for engine components
Figure 106: Connecting rod made of Ti-SB62 split using laser cracking
Figure 107: Turbocharger turbine wheel made from ?TiAl
Figure 108: Titanium MMC crankshaft using Ti-4A-4V+12% TiCl
Figure 109: Comparison between titanium and steel spring showing 50% weight saving
Figure 110: VW Golf 4-Motion titanium exhaust
Figure 111: Titanium use in the Bugatti Veyron
Figure 112: laser sintered titanium components
Figure 113: Price elasticity of demand for various engineering materials
Figure 114: CFRP cost structure according to SGL Group
Figure 115: Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) process chain
Figure 116: Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) process schematic
Figure 117: McLaren's MP4-12C featuring a carbon fibre monocoque safety cell
Figure 118: CFRP future development roadmap
Figure 119: Schematic of the Resin Spray Transfer process
Figure 120: Advanced engineering plastics use in the MX-0 design challenge vehicle
Figure 121: Density strength relationships for various engineering materials
Figure 122: Emerging automotive nanotechnology uses
Figure 123: Emerging applications for carbon nanotube based materials technology
Figure 124: Nanocomposite interior component
Figure 125: Over injection moulding of metal structures
Figure 126: A schematic illustrating a holistic interdisciplinary approach to multi-material design and manufacture
Figure 127: Optimal continuous fibre reinforcement design for thermoplastic component
Figure 128: Optimised component design achieved by intrinsic materials hybridisation
Figure 129: Hybrid materials process schematic
Figure 130: Wheat Straw/ Polypropylene storage bin and cover liner used in the 2010 Ford Flex
Figure 131: ELV regulation implementation
Figure 132: Joining technologies used in automotive manufacturing.
Figure 133: Laser welded door containing three different steels.
Figure 134: Friction stir welding.
Figure 135: Laser assisted friction stir welding.
Figure 136: Blind rivets
Figure 137: Self-piercing rivets
Figure 138: Tread forming screws


Table 1: The relative cost of fuel economy measures
Table 2: Global automotive efficiency and GHG standards
Table 3: Automotive industry drivers
Table 4: Mass reduction potential for alternative materials
Table 5: OEM statements and commitments to weight reduction
Table 6: Multi-materials potential body applications
Table 7: Weight reduction in lightweight shock absorber assemblies
Table 8: Steel grades
Table 9: Range of steels available for FSV
Table 10: High aluminium content vehicles with a US NHTSA 5 star safety rating (2009)
Table 11: Summary applications of magnesium in Western Europe and North America
Table 12: Mechanical and physical properties of Magnesium
Table 13: properties of magnesium alloys compared with plastics, steel and aluminium
Table 14: Titanium cost comparison
Table 15: Small TOW and large TOW capacity by supplier 2011
Table 16: Global supply and demand for carbon fibre across all industries
Table 17: DoE US targets and metrics for carbon fibre and composites
Table 18: Advantages and disadvantages of thermoset and thermoplastic composites
Table 19: Thermocomposite materials
Table 20: Mechanical properties of selected fibres and polymers
Table 21: Bio-based content of selected automotive components
Table 22: Selected bio-based automotive components

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