Weight Reduction and Fuel Economy

An fka study demonstrates that vehicle weight can be reduced by 25% through the application of modern high-strength and AHSS. Overall, when looking at the evidence and the current state of the art in technology, the fka study concludes that aluminium designs provide 5 to 20% mass savings compared to an AHSS design (see figure). In fact, the average mass reduction advantage of aluminium is only 11%, far less than the 40-50% reduction often communicated by its proponents.

Looking to the future

The green car revolution, weight reduction and fuel economy: do they stand for the same equation?

  • Advanced powertrains (e.g. electric, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell vehicles), which take advantage of regenerative braking, do not see the same large variations in weight/fuel consumption with powertrain resizing as conventional internal combustion engines do.
  • Weight reduction will continue to be relevant with newly designed powertrains, as car manufacturers will be able to reduce battery storage and motor size based on lower mass structures. The choice of material is therefore critical in this respect, and steel will continue to successfully reinvent itself to meet this challenge of weight reduction together with safety and environmental responsibility—at little or no extra cost. The FSV Programme stands as an example of this commitment.