Vehicle Weight Reduction for Optimal Performance

DuPont is helping automakers redesign for vehicle weight reduction.
DuPont materials help automakers redesign for vehicle weight reduction.
 

Vehicle Weight Reduction Cuts CO2

DuPont is putting science to work on vehicle weight reduction. We’re committed to discovering and developing lighter-weight alternatives to metal, materials that can withstand the intense heat, the aggressive chemicals, and the high pressures in constant play within automotive engines. Vehicle weight reduction saves energy, minimizes brake and tire wear, and, perhaps most welcome, it cuts down emissions. Lightweighting vehicles is directly linked to lower CO2 emissions and improved fuel economy. The benefits of even modest vehicle weight reduction are significant. Reducing an automobile’s weight by a mere 50 kg (110 lbs) reduces up to 5 g of CO2 /km and increases fuel economy by up to 2%.

The Promise of Lightweighting

Take mass production into account and vehicle weight reduction really starts to pay dividends. Cutting 11kg (24.2 lbs) from each of the 70 million light-vehicle engines produced in 2011 could save up to 908 million liters (240 million gallons) of refined fuel or nine million barrels of crude. Eliminating 5-7 kg (11 to 15.4 lbs) from the 40 million automotive transmissions manufactured that same year would save up to 350 million liters (90 million gallons) of refined gasoline fuel, or 3.4 million barrels of crude.

Less is More with High-Performance Materials

Replacing metal parts with parts wrought from DuPont high-performance polymers is one proven strategy for vehicle weight reduction. Built to withstand the usual automotive rigors, lightweight DuPont™ Zytel® PLUS nylon resin can handle protracted exposure to hot oil, hot air, calcium chloride (road salt), coolants and other automotive chemicals. (DuPont won the 2010 SPE Most Innovative Use of Plastics award for Zytel® PLUS.) Ideal for replacing metal parts in air ducts, lightweight DuPont™ Hytrel® TPC-ET thermoplastic elastomer has the flexibility of rubber, but the strength of plastic. And DuPont™ Kevlar® aramid fiber reinforcement in tires can result in lighter tires and reduced fuel consumption. Kevlar® weighs less than steel, yet it’s five times stronger on an equal weight basis.

More DuPont Lightweighting Solutions

DuPont™ Crastin® PBT polyester resin and other DuPont Performance Polymers help automotive engineers achieve even more vehicle weight reduction.

At DuPont we’re about using science to transform challenges into innovation. Here are some of the initiatives we’re working on with our auto industry collaborators.