What is pushing automotive lightweighting forward?
The drivers for development at a technology level, at a vehicle level and at an industry level are not only a complex mix, but for various reasons they can be conflicting. Taking three broad groups – consumers, legislators and OEMs (page 27) illustrates the various motivations.
Reducing vehicle weight may deliver the consumer improved fuel economy, performance and perhaps in some cases styling, but at what price? On the other hand OEMs are concerned to remain cost-competitive and have vehicles that do not present insurmountable manufacturing issues, particularly in the shorter term. Repairability is also important, and the widespread adoption of lightweight materials therefore has significant implications for the skill base within the bodyshop and repair sector.