Canadian Manufacturing

Ford and Magna’s lightweight concept has ‘significant environmental benefits’

Study returned 16 per cent improvement in total primary energy compared to conventional Ford Fusion



Ford and Magna's multi-material lightweight vehicle concept. PHOTO Ford

Ford and Magna’s multi-material lightweight vehicle concept. PHOTO Ford

TROY, Mich.—Auto supplier Magna International Inc. said a lightweight sedan co-developed with Ford Motor Co. has completed validation testing with “significant environmental benefits.”

Dubbed the multi-material lightweight vehicle (MMLV) concept, the 2013 Ford Fusion test vehicle uses a combination of aluminum, magnesium, titanium and carbon fibre to lower its from about 3,500 lbs. to in the neighbourhood of 2,700 lbs.—about the same as the smaller Fiesta subcompact produced by Ford.

A life cycle assessment (LCA) study found a 16 per cent improvement in global warming potential and a 16 per cent improvement in total primary energy (fuel usage plus the energy needed to produce and recycle materials) compared to a conventional 2013 Fusion sedan.

The LCA was conducted by an undisclosed third-party consultant, according to Aurora, Ont.-based Magna, and is based on cradle-to-grave predictions of both vehicles.

“The MMLV project shows the potential benefits of combining lightweight vehicle technologies and a downsized, high-output engine to reduce greenhouse gases and total energy,” Magna chief technical officer Swamy Kotagiri said in a statement.

“While this is a research prototype, the MMLV points the way to a more sustainable future. We at Magna are working diligently to make these lightweight technologies affordable for high volume production.”

The MMLV concept was developed in cooperation with Ford and the United States Department of Energy (DOE).

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