US: the automotive industry embraces the “lightweight” trend image

A new survey among the designers and engineers involved with the automotive industry sees “lightweighting” as the newest trend in automotive production, as both US and Europe are facing tougher new fuel economy goals in the years to come.

Ford’s upcoming sales start of the aluminum-made F-150 truck is just the highlight of manufacturers looking to shed weight from their vehicles to gain significant advancements when it comes to fuel economy and meeting the more stringent emission standards.

“The automotive industry is racing to develop safe, fun and affordable vehicles that are much more fuel efficient and produce far fewer emissions,” said Pat Lindner, president of DuPont Performance Polymers.

“There is no silver bullet – every part and vehicle system faces a different set of requirements – but it is pretty clear that the automotive design and engineering community needs more support from advanced materials suppliers to reduce vehicle weight,” added Jeff Sternberg, director of DuPont Automotive Technology.

The supplier conducted the survey among 900 industry insiders, with 66% of them agreeing the new 2017-2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, could become even more stringent if they are revised. Besides getting their cars and trucks lighter, automakers also use a wide variety of other tactics: they use futuristic engine and transmission technologies, have better aerodynamics and deploy a wider range of cars with alternative powertrains – hybrid, electric or fuel cell.