Ford, Magna partner on lightweight concept vehicle

Fusion’s weight is reduced by 25% using advanced materials.

A Ford Fusion with an aluminum-intensive architecture. Photo: Ford

A Ford Fusion with an aluminum-intensive architecture.
Photo: Ford

TROY, Mich. — Magna International Inc. and Ford Motor Co. have unveiled a multi-material lightweight concept vehicle that uses advanced materials to achieve a weight reduction of nearly 25% compared to a current production vehicle.

The R&D project led by Magna, the Aurora, Ont.-based auto parts maker, is co-funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE) and includes engineering, a prototype vehicle and validation testing involving a new aluminum-intensive architecture.

The concept vehicle is based on a 2013 Ford Fusion but reduces its weight to that of a subcompact B-car – two vehicle segments lighter – without compromising performance or occupant safety.

“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 toughness as our vehicles on the road today,” said Matt Zaluzec, Ford technical leader, global materials and manufacturing research. “There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to light-weighting. The research vehicle gives us the platform to continue to explore the right mix of materials and applications for future vehicles.”

The vehicle is part of the US DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Office lightweight materials project, which addresses future CAFE fuel economy legislation.

Vehma International, an engineering and prototype division within the Cosma International operating unit of Magna, manufactured and integrated the multi-material body-in-white, closures, chassis and bumper components.

Ford supplied the vehicles and weight-optimized powertrain, tires/wheels, suspension, interiors, glass and seating to build drivable car for test and evaluation.

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