Lightweighting 2021

Editor's note

Making light work

It seems like a long time ago but lightweighting was once top of the agenda for carmakers wanting to improve fuel efficiency in their ICE-powered model line-ups. Skip forward a few years and it’s a priority again as OEMs try to improve the efficiency of electric vehicle models. It’s fair to say that the need to reduce vehicle weight has never gone away, but this requirement for the new generation of battery-powered vehicles carries some weight ‑ quite literally. Fortunately, the experience gained over recent years offers OEMs and tier suppliers a range of strong, lightweight materials to use, and developments in production processes mean creating optimised, multi-material vehicle structures is viable.


In this edition, we’re covering this topic across several areas, starting with the battery enclosure. Reducing the weight of the lithium-ion cells is challenging without compromising the range of the vehicle, but the enclosure does offer scope for lightening, with manufacturers exploring a number of materials options. We look at some of the lightweighting developments around this structure.


Designing and producing lightweight chassis components is a key part of the whole weight reduction approach but using new materials and manufacturing processes means that established test and measurement solutions need to be further developed to ensure more accurate results for these new components. We spoke to the Fatigue4light project, which is working with several leading automotive companies to develop a new fatigue modelling approach, specifically for these lightweight components.


Aluminium has long been vaunted as a key lightweight material for vehicle structures and is now well established in a range of applications. We got some insight into new developments in alloys and production processes that offer improved performance for structural parts. Last but not least, we draw on some insights from designers and engineers from Ford and Gestamp who joined us for a recent AMS livestream to explain how lightweighting is now a key consideration in the interior and exterior design of vehicles, and to explore the opportunities this presents for both designers and production engineers.


One last bit of AMS news: we are returning to industry events after a number of years (some of you may remember our series of global live conferences) with our online Evolution summit taking place December 7-8 2021. Look out for more details on this and our upcoming livestream in October covering all things to do with AI and automation.


Cover video courtesy of Audi

Editor Nick Holt nick.holt@ultimamedia.com

Deputy editor Gareth Price gareth.price@ultimamedia.com

Editor-in-chief Christopher Ludwig christopher.ludwig@ultimamedia.com

Contributors Mark Dickin, Chuck Hagyard

Publisher and sales Andrew Fallon andrew.fallon@ultimamedia.com

Design director Matt Crane matt.crane@ultimamedia.com 

Senior designer Steven Singh Bains steven.bains@ultimamedia.com

Digital designer Hannah Lindsay hannah.lindsay@ultimamedia.com

Head of audience and marketing Chris Mott chris.mott@ultimamedia.com

Circulation and database Justyna Wanczyk justyna.wanczyk@ ultimamedia.com

Office manager and sales support Jo Fordrey jo.fordrey@ultimamedia.com

Head of finance Kanokkan Durrant kanokkan.durrant@ultimamedia.com

Managing director Gavin Miller gavin.miller@ultimamedia.com 

Editor Nick Holt nick.holt@ultimamedia.com

Contributors Mike Farish

Editor-in-chief Christopher Ludwig christopher.ludwig@ultimamedia.com

Publisher and sales Andrew Fallon andrew.fallon@ultimamedia.com

Senior designer Steven Singh Bains steven.bains@ultimamedia.com

Digital creative designer Gemma Wood gemma.wood@ultimamedia.com

Digital journalist Jason Dunn jason.dunn@ultimamedia.com

CRM and data manager Alistair Hankey alistair.Hankey@ultimamedia.com

Circulation and database Justyna Wanczyk justyna.wanczyk@ ultimamedia.com

Head of finance Kanokkan Durrant kanokkan.durrant@ultimamedia.com

Managing director Gavin Miller gavin.miller@ultimamedia.com 

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Cover video courtesy of Audi