Lightweighting Impacts on Fuel Economy, Cost, and Component Losses
In 2011, the United States imported almost half of its petroleum. Lightweighting vehicles reduces that dependency directly by decreasing the engine, braking and rolling resistance losses, and indirectly by enabling a smaller, more efficiently operating engine to provide the same performance. The Future Automotive Systems Technology Simulator (FASTSim) tool was used to quantify these impacts. FASTSim is the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) high-level vehicle powertrain model developed at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. It steps through a time versus speed drive cycle to estimate the powertrain forces required to meet the cycle. It simulates the major vehicle powertrain components and their losses. It includes a cost model based on component sizing and fuel prices. FASTSim simulated different levels of lightweighting for four different powertrains.