One of the priorities of the automotive sector is to reduce the weight of the vehicle in order to reduce their consumption and the CO2 emissions. This involves studying the possibilities of lightening the components in each individual case, maintaining the current functions and specific mechanical and aesthetic characteristics thereof.
A vehicle may be lighter by reducing its external dimensions without impacting the livability and accessibility of the car. To reduce 1cm of the vehicle represents a weight reduction of X kg depending on the area:
Another way to reduce the weight of the vehicle is to use lighter materials. Steel is still the main material, especially in chassis suspension and bodyparts, but gradually other materials such as high resistance steels are beeing used, which their mechanical properties are much better than conventional steels. These type of steels make possible to manufacture pieces with thinner thickness, therefor the weight of the components is reduced. Other materials are magnesium and aluminum alloys which have a lower density. However the materials that provide greater weight reduction are polymers and polymer-based composites (thermoset and thermoplastic) reinforced with fibers (glass, carbon, natural). The latter are 60% lighter than conventional steel and 30% lighter than aluminum.