Modeling Costs and Fuel Economy Benefits of Lightweighting Vehicle Closure Panels
This paper illustrates a methodology in which complete material-manufacturing process cases for closure panels, reinforcements, and assembly are modeled and compared in order to identify the preferred option for a lightweight closure design. First, process-based cost models are used to predict the cost of lightweighting the closure set of a sample midsized sports utility vehicle (SUV) via material and process substitution. Weight savings are then analyzed using a powertrain simulation to understand the impact of lightweighting on fuel economy. The results are evaluated in the context of production volume and total mass change.