During her recent presentation at the General Motors Capital Markets Day event, GM CEO Mary Barra provided insight into how the automaker was working towards reducing emissions with its newer vehicle launches. As Barra outlined, part of the strategy involves weight reduction, with new GM platforms shedding hundreds of pounds on average.
“For example, we have removed an average of 350 pounds from each architecture for our new vehicle launches,” Barra said during her presentation. “This has reduced carbon emissions by about 312 metric tons per year, and it demonstrates the strides toward zero emissions will also come from our traditional lineup. So while [electric vehicles] and [autonomous vehicles] are key elements in our vision, our work is already underway with our current product portfolio and pipeline.”
A few examples of newer vehicles that have shown significant weight savings between the current generation and previous generation include the Chevrolet Cruze (223 pounds), Chevrolet Equinox (425 pounds), and Chevrolet Malibu (346 pounds).
In addition to reducing the weight of the various GM platforms, Barra said that General Motors was also working on upping efficiency through 3D printing techniques, parts consolidation, and improved aerodynamics, not to mention utilization of lightweight materials.
Indeed, an average reduction of 350 pounds per GM platform is no small feat. Weight is a particularly troublesome metric for engineers, as it affects a wide variety of vehicle characteristics, from fuel efficiency, to handling, to parts longevity and reliability.
As we covered previously, General Motors is currently working to consolidate a multitude of disparate GM platforms into just four vehicle sets by 2025. The new Vehicle Set Strategy, also known as VSS, will significantly streamline the production process, while also decreasing development time/time to market, add engineering efficiency, and increase margins.
Looking ahead, the insights gleaned with regard to lightweighting the various GM platforms will no doubt pay dividends in the automaker’s electrification efforts. Electric vehicles are notoriously heavy, with the batteries used typically adding substantially to vehicle heft. As such, any pounds saved can make things substantially easier for engineers.