Mazda Sets New Goal: Wants to Lighten Redesigned Vehicles by 220 Pounds
Sources reveal that Mazda plans to reduce around 220 pounds of weight every time when it modifies one of its models. The new goal set by the automaker seems impossible to achieve as engineers who are keen to take out weight are continuously battling safety and emissions regulations and customer demand to provide more comfort and convenience features, all of which add weight. But according to the automaker, they have to continue such ambitious targets as they have to meet strict fuel-economy standards instructed by government. Cutting out weight was actually not a tough task for Mazda as it reduced around 575 pounds of its CX-5 crossover than its similar-sized predecessor, the CX-7.
Dave Coleman — vehicle development engineer for Mazda’s North American operations commented on the new target made by the automaker. “Obviously that’s going to get harder and harder. We focused so much on the low-hanging fruit that we still have a lot of room,” he said. To achieve the target of cutting out weight, Mazda has made big changes that include designing the frame using less steel to provide the necessary strength alongside some alterations that have a big cumulative effect. To site an example, the CX-5 uses bolts that are 8 grams lighter. Coleman added that Mazda would make use of advanced materials in future generations of SkyActiv models.
Meanwhile, the major rivals of Mazda like Audi have started using lighter materials, including aluminum, magnesium and carbon fiber. According to the reports, Ford Motor Co. is expected to use a largely aluminum body for its forthcoming F-150 pickup truck. In the words of Manfred Sindel, quality manager for Audi, lighter vehicles have many benefits beyond fuel economy, including better performance and easy handling. James Morgan of Ford said that one of his team members say carbon fiber is the material of the future and it will always remain so. Anyway, we can expect lighter vehicles in future.