Canadian Manufacturing

Ford shows off lightweight Fusion sedan concept

Lightweight Concept vehicle weighs as much as compact Fiesta, according to automaker

TORONTO—Ford Motor Co. has unveiled at Fusion sedan concept that weighs as much as the smaller Fiesta to showcase advances in lightweighting.

Ford’s Lightweight Concept vehicle, a current generation Fusion, sheds weight to the tune of 25 per cent of its total dry mass through the use of advanced materials that the automaker said could make their way into production models in the future.

The current Fiesta weighs about 2,700 lbs., while the non-concept Fusion tips the scales at 3,500 lbs.

“Consumers today want better fuel efficiency, but they also want more technology and features in the car, which usually adds weight to the vehicle,” Ford vice-president of global product development Raj Nair said in a statement.

“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.”

Comparing the components on the car to those found in modern smartphones, Ford said aluminum, chemically toughened glass and advanced lightweight plastics were used throughout the Fusion, including the powertrain, chassis, body, battery and interior finishes.

The automaker said the lightweight Fusion concept showcases the “most comprehensive blend of advanced materials yet in one vehicle,” and also makes use of “ultra-high-strength steels,” carbon fibre and magnesium.

“Our goal was to investigate how to design and build a mixed-materials, lightweight vehicle that could potentially be produced in high volume, while providing the same level of safety, durability and toughness as our vehicles on the road today,” said Matt Zaluzec, technical leader of global materials and manufacturing research with Ford.

“There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to lightweighting. The Lightweight Concept gives us the platform to continue to explore the right mix of materials and applications for future vehicles.”

The concept was developed together with Cosma International, a subsidiary of Magna International Inc.

Ford credited Aurora, Ont.-based Magna’s development of the multi-material body-in-white, closures and chassis components as a significant contributor in lightweighting the Fusion.

The automaker is already deploying a lighter weight version of one of its most popular vehicles, the F-150 pickup, for the 2015 model year.

The redesigned F-150 uses aluminum in its construction to cut 700 lbs. from its base weight compared to the current generation.

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