This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

August 27, 2014

Road to Fuel Savings: Ford, Magna Partnership Helps Vehicles Shed the Pounds

This year at the Detroit Auto Show, Ford Motor Company made waves when it unveiled a new lightweight F-150, knocking nearly 700 pounds off the popular truck. Now the company is one step closer to developing an affordable, lightweight passenger car with its new Lightweight Concept vehicle—a prototype that is nearly 25% lighter than an equivalent conventional vehicle, thanks to the use of a mix of advanced materials.

The use of lightweight materials isn’t a new idea. For years, materials like aluminum and advanced high-strength steel—twice as strong as traditional steel—have been used in airplanes, racecars, and even some luxury vehicles to cut fuel use without impacting performance or safety. While these materials can be found in key components of high-volume passenger vehicles, their high cost has made them too cost-prohibitive to use extensively until recently.

As automakers look for ways to increase vehicle efficiency and lower emissions to meet new fuel economy standards—all while maintaining a range of vehicle options—more and more companies are exploring ways to incorporate strong, lightweight materials. And this could translate into big fuel savings for consumers. Reducing a vehicle’s weight by just 10% can improve fuel economy by 6 to 8%.

One example is the recent partnership between Ford and Magna International, a leading automotive supplier. With support from the Energy Department, the two companies teamed up to explore different weight-reduction options and how those options can work together to increase a vehicle’s gas mileage. For the complete story, see the EERE Blog.