What’s a plausible solution for the The General’s next generation half-ton pickups to meet the upcoming CAFE light truck standard of 30 MPG, but — at the same time — sacrifice neither power nor capabilities? How about putting the trucks on a diet? This is the road GM engineers seem to be taking.
According to vehicle line executive (VLE) Rick Spina, he and the rest of his team in charge of the development of full-sized trucks are looking to shed around 10 percent (500 lbs.) of weight from the current-generation Silverado and Sierra to the next generation, which supposedly is to debut around 2014-2015. Spina revealed that his team plans on using lightweight blown-in foam to reduce noise in certain areas of the vehicle over heavier — yet cheaper — padding. Additionally, he also hinted at the idea of using magnesium or aluminum for the framework. Another goal is to reduce weight by as much as 1,000 lbs. by 2020 onward.
Though this seems to be an excellent solution, there are a few issues. One is that weight loss goes completely against the latest trend of vehicles getting larger and heaver over the past 30 years, most likely due to automakers constantly trying to cram in more technology and safety features into each vehicle. For GM — or any automaker — to keep those necessities while maintaining today’s levels of quality when aiming to produce a lighter vehicle gets very expensive, especially when utilizing metals like magnesium to replace much heavier steel. Hopefully, the GM engineers will find a way to meet their goals while still managing to keep the price of the final product grounded by 2016. Whether or not The General’s next line of full-sized SUVs will receive the same touches remains to be seen.