In today’s car market, efficiency is the name of the game. In order to keep up with (or stay ahead of) the competition, General Motors is constantly finding ways to enhance its vehicles. One such way is weight reduction, as less weight leads to greater fuel efficiency. This holds true for the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu, which utilizes a lightweight engine mounting system designed by a German-based company known as ContiTech.
Three mounts were designed for the new Malibu in total; the motor mount and transmission mount, which support the drivetrain and hydraulically dampen vibrations, and a torque rod support, which is used to absorb torque. The smaller size of the 1.5 L 4-cylinder engine meant that the mounts themselves would need to be bigger, which traditionally meant heavier. However, Florian Reinke, a developer at ContiTech Vibration Control, explains why this is not the case, “We were able to replace all the internal components with much lighter polyamide versions. Only one steel component has been retained, and the crash-relevant parts are still made of aluminum because of the limited installation space.”
ContiTech’s motor mount system is unique in that the components of the hydraulic mounts are comprised of mainly polyamide. Aside from the weight savings, polyamide is also easier to manipulate. This means that designers were able to create components with more detail and smoothness, which in turn enables greater functional efficiency.
“This development shows very clearly that the lightweight construction trend is becoming increasingly significant for the U.S. market as well and that polyamide components have finally arrived in mid-size cars too,” says Scott Bykowski, head of Development for North America at ContiTech Vibration Control.