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It's a fairly well known fact that removing weight from a car is essentially a panacea for many of the modern automobiles problems. Does it handle like crap? Remove weight. Underpowered? Don't add power; trim the fat. Need to improve fuel economy? It's diet time.

Actually executing a major weight reduction program, though, much like with human beings, is no easy task. Unlike you or I, where motivation is the issue, the prohibitive measure in trimming a car's waistline is money. Lightweight materials are expensive, with carbon fiber and carbon-fiber reinforced plastic still primarily in the domain of higher end vehicles. Even aluminum construction, pioneered on a mass-produced level by Audi and Jaguar, is only now starting to make its way into the mainstream, thanks to the upcoming Ford F-150.

With this concept, though, Ford is attempting to show that a mass-produced, lightweight vehicle isn't too far off. This is the Lightweight Concept, and while it may look like a Fusion, it weighs as much as a Fiesta. For reference, the lightest Fusion available to the public is the 3,323-pound, 2.5-liter model with a manual transmission. A manually equipped, 1.6-liter Fiesta, meanwhile, is just 2,537 pounds.

The nearly 25 percent weight reduction is thanks to the intensive use of aluminum, not to mention large dollops of high-strength steel, carbon fiber and chemically laminated glass.The Fiesta's three-cylinder EcoBoost engine, tiny tires and lightweight wheels round out the package.

We wouldn't count on picking a 2,500-pound Fusion up from you local dealer in the near future, though.

"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," Matt Zaluzec, Ford's technical leader for global materials and manufacturing research, said in a statement. "There's not a one-size-fits-all approach to light-weighting. The Lightweight Concept gives us the platform to continue to explore the right mix of materials and applications for future vehicles."

Here's hoping some of these lightweight measures make to market in a wider form sooner rather than later. Maybe one day we'll even get a lightweight Mustang.


click more / video : autoblog.com/2014/06/04/ford-builds-lightweight-concept-fusion-video/


...:cool:
 
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