US – The project by Ford and Magna International, which was co-funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE), used advanced material solutions to achieve a weight saving of almost 25% compared with the industry standard.

The multi-material, lightweight vehicle (MMLV) concept is based on the production version of a 2013 Ford Fusion but features a new aluminium-intensive structure which reduces the car’s weight to that of a 2013 Ford Fiesta, meaning that a C/D segment family sedan can weigh as little as a subcompact B-car.

For this project, Ford supplied the vehicles and weight-optimised powertrain, as well as the wheels and tyres, suspension, interiors, glass and seating. Vehma International, an engineering and prototype division within the Cosma International operating unit of Magna, manufactured and integrated the multi-material body-in-white (BIW), plus the closures, chassis and bumper components.

“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,” commented Matt Zaluzec, Ford technical leader, Global Materials and Manufacturing Research.

He added: “There isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to lightweighting. The research vehicle gives us the platform to continue to explore the right mix of materials and applications for future vehicles.”