Lightweight design potential of hybrid and heavy commercial vehicles

Significant weight savings are predicted if past experience is anything to go by

The Lightweight Forging Initiative has entered its third phase as a consortium of around 40 companies from Europe, Asia, and the US is devoting its efforts to determining the lightweight design potential of hybrid and heavy commercial vehicles in terms of the powertrain, chassis, and transmission, with results of the study available in early summer 2018.

"Reducing the CO2 emissions and weight of vehicles is one of the most important topics for the automotive industry," Dr Hans-Willi Raedt, vice president Advanced Engineering of the Hirschvogel Automotive Group and chairman of the consortium for the forging partners, explains.

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In 2013, 24 forging companies and steel manufacturers joined forces to focus on how individual components can be rendered lighter. They say the results so far are impressive.
By successfully optimising components of a medium-sized passenger car during project phase I, the lightweight design ideas led to an average weight reduction of 10%, resulting in a weight saving of 42kg.

In the case of the light commercial vehicle under analysis during project phase II, the potential weight saving even amounted to 99kg.

"We have shown that modern steel materials in forging technology can make a decisive contribution to the lightweight design requirements of the vehicle industry.

"Both studies verify that new ideas generate very tangible competitive advantages over rival production processes and materials," says Dr Thomas Wurm, head of technical customer support and application development at Georgsmarienhütte GmbH,
as well as chairman of  the consortium for the steel partners.

Under phase III of the project, analysis will be undertaken of the lightweight design potential of forged components in the powertrain and chassis of a hybrid car and heavy commercial vehicles; types of vehicle that will become increasingly important over the next few years.

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