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Fusion shows off Ford's weight-loss

Lighten up: Weight in the Ford Fusion was reduced by 25 percent thanks to advanced materials used.

Ford’s Fusion concept is leaner, greener and weighs as much as a Fiesta


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4 Jun 2014

FORD HAS unveiled its Lightweight Concept vehicle in the US to demonstrate how the company is using advanced weight-saving materials to develop ways to improve the performance and fuel efficiency of future vehicles.

Ford used the mid-sized Fusion sedan – which will be sold in Australia as the next-generation Mondeo from early next year – as the starting point for the Lightweight Concept, with engineers reducing its overall mass by 25 percent, making it as light as a Ford Fiesta.

This was achieved by targeting almost every area of the car. The suspension weight was reduced by 30 per cent by using carbon-fibre wheels with tall, narrow tyres, aluminium brake rotors, composite hollow steel springs and lightweight stabiliser bars.

In the cabin, weight was reduced by 35 percent with carbon-fibre seats and a foamed plastic trim. A polycarbonate rear window and a hybrid chemically toughened laminated windscreen also saves 35 percent in weight.

A weight saving of 25 percent under the bonnet is thanks to a 1.0-litre three cylinder EcoBoost engine, but it’s not quite the same as the powertrain found in the Fiesta Sport.

This one has hollow steel crankshafts, forged aluminium connecting rods, a carbon-fibre oil pan, carbon-fibre front cover and cam carrier while the transmission has cast aluminium and magnesium components.

The body of the car is made from aluminium sheeting and advanced high strength steel. Aluminium and magnesium was also used in the castings, which has reduced the body’s weight by 25 percent.

“This shows Ford’s commitment to ongoing technology research and development,” Ford Australia brand communications manager Neil McDonald told GoAuto.

“Weight is the biggest enemy of emissions and fuel efficiency. Combined with a suite of things that we are already doing, like our EcoBoost engine line-up, this sort of research activity really helps us going forward.”

The use of the Fusion/Mondeo was a deliberate move by Ford as it is a global car and therefore a good way to introduce the weight saving concepts. The research from the Lightweight Concept has been used to reduce the weight of the 2015 F-150 pick-up truck by almost 320kg using light-weight aluminium steel.

The F-150 is not destined for Australia and it’s not known at this point if the weight-saving tech will find its way into the final Falcon or what future Ford models will benefit from the research.

“It’s way too early to speculate on where these particular materials can benefit our vehicles in Australia, but clearly what it’s saying to Ford customers is we’re certainly researching this facility and clearly there’s a customer desire to have those sorts of light-weight materials in vehicles.

"So it’s a case of looking at the longer term,” he said.

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