Weight Reduction Potential of Passenger Cars and Light Trucks by Material Substitution 800803

This paper describes a study conducted to evaluate the potential of weight reduction by material substitution for passenger cars and light trucks.
Production vehicles considered to be optimally designed for a given functional size are selected as baseline vehicles for the study. The component weight and material of these baseline vehicles are obtained through vehicle teardown. To simplify the analysis, components which are selected for the material substitution analysis are grouped by their geometrical form into panel members, thin-walled beam members, and solid section members.
Four alternative materials are used in the analysis. These include high strength steels (HSS), aluminum alloys, fiberglass reinforced plastics (FRP), and hybrid reinforced plastics (HRP). The analysis is carried out for four cases of material substitution: the HSS dominant case, the FRP dominant case, the aluminum dominant case, and the HRP dominant case.
Applying equal stiffness as the structural requirement, weight savings by direct material substitution are computed for each baseline vehicle. Results show that primary weight reduction in the range of 10 to 33 percent of original curb weight is possible with direct material substitution.


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