Mazda has set a new goal: from now on each of its designed models to be with at least 220 pounds lighter.
To take weight out is not an impossible task. But when doing this auto makers have to take other factors into account, such as emission regulations, safety, comfort and other convenience features, which only means added weight. As part of its approach, called SkyActiv, Mazda managed to take out as much as 575 pounds when designing its CX-5 crossover, which has the same size as its predecessor the CX-7.
“Obviously that’s going to get harder and harder,” said Dave Coleman, vehicle development engineer for Mazda’s North American operations.“We focused so much on the low-hanging fruit that we still have a lot of room.”
Other car makers have thought about this too. Audi has already increased the use of aluminum, carbon fiber and magnesium, which are very light materials, and Ford wants to design the body of the next generation of its F-150 pickup truck made largely of aluminum.
But although these materials offer better fuel economy, handling and performance, they also make the cars more expensive. Their cost will come down only when they will be more widely used in the industry.