General Motors CEO Dan Akerson stated that the automaker’s next-generation line of products will be at least 15 percent lighter in total curb weight compared to today’s vehicles. That’s quite an ambitious goal by anyone’s standards, but if GM engineers can pull it off, it should pay dividends in the fuel economy department, and hopefully shake the stereotype that its products are “fat”.
One would think that GM would utilize all-aluminum bodies and carbon fiber to cut weight, but according to Automotive News, a different approach will be taken. For instance, engineers may actually implement more high-strength steel for the body-in-white, while also blending in lightweight magnesium for select components such as transmission cases, and aluminum for things like doors, decklids, hoods, and smaller structural parts.
GM will also utilize cutting-edge manufacturing techniques, such as spot welding, which eliminates the need for rivets. There’s also the GM Ventures investment in NanoSteel, which is expected to bear fruition soon.
2016 also happens to be the year when CAFE standards ramp up to a 35.5 miles per gallon standard.