Ford Fusion loses almost 800 pounds in ultra-lightweight concept edition.
Ford is putting its key model on a diet. The Ford Fusion now has a concept cousin that is some 800 pounds (362kg) lighter. The mid-sized family saloon concept, known as the Ford Mondeo in the UK, is about the same weight as the b-segment Ford Fiesta.
To lose the weight, the Fusion’s had to make some serious lifestyle changes – cutting back on heavier materials and spending a bit more on carbonfibre and other expensive weight-reducing metals.
The 19-inch wheels are now carbon-fibre, as are the seats. The crankshaft, springs and stabiliser bars are now hollowed steel and Ford has combined aluminium, high-strength steel and magnesium for the chassis. Chemically treated glass has reduced the weight of the windshield and door windows, while the rear window is plastic.
The Ford Fusion Lightweight concept now has a more petite 1.0l, three-cylinder EcoBoost engine that improves fuel economy to around 45mpg, without compromising performance – or so Ford say. That same engine is also used in the Focus Ecoboost to very good effect. The engine block has decreased a whopping 40 per cent in weight.
Although all of these weight-saving measures aren’t due to hit your dealership for a while, it’s clear Ford is keen to take a lighter approach to manufacture. Matt Zaluzex, Ford’s technical lead for global materials and manufacturing research, said: “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 touchness as our vehicles on the road today.”
The concept inspires the forthcoming 2014 Ford F-150 and will provide a platform for future models. Ford intend to use four of the six lightweight prototypes for testing and the two others for in-house experimentation.
When the technology does finally hit the roads, Ford reckon the vehicle will start and stop faster, use less fuel and (ever-fashionably) help save the planet.
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