Magna debuts lightweight, natural gas-powered concept car

Magna's MILA Blue is the seventh concept vehicle in the MILA family and emphasizes use of composites and other lightweight materials, along with a natural gas-powered engine, to produce less than 49g CO2/km.

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Magna International Inc. (Aurora, Ontario, Canada) reported on Feb. 26 that it will showcase its manufacturing capabilities through the MILA Blue vehicle concept at the Geneva Motor Show 2014. MILA Blue is a natural-gas powered, A-segment lightweight vehicle that produces less than 49g CO2/km.

MILA Blue, the seventh concept vehicle in the MILA family, features an optimized vehicle architecture and the latest lightweight design concepts, as well as novel materials and joining technologies. MILA Blue achieves a weight savings of 300 kg/661 lb compared to typical current A-segment vehicles.

According to Günther Apfalter, president of Magna International Europe, "As the automotive industry continues to look for ways to become more environmentally friendly, Magna continues to leverage its engineering expertise to bring our customers solutions that meet their challenges. MILA Blue underscores our technological competence in lightweight construction and alternative drives, which help answer the demands of global CO2 reduction."

MILA Blue's weight-reduction achievement is based on three pillars:

  • Functional integration — for example, replacing plastic interior trim with structural parts suitably designed with laminable, visually attractive surfaces.
  • Material substitution — multimaterial approach including aluminum, magnesium and composite materials to deliver cost- effective, innovative lightweight modules.
  • Downsizing — leveraging smaller, lighter components while at the same time maintaining function and performance.

MILA Blue uses a compressed natural gas hybrid drive that achieves a carbon footprint of less than 49g CO2/km. Refueling with biogas instead of fossil-derived natural gas can bring about an additional improvement in the carbon footprint to < 36g CO2/km. The combustion engine is coupled with an automatic manual transmission and a belt-driven starter generator. Due to the vehicle's comparatively light weight, driving in stop-and-go traffic and cruising up to 30km/h can be done electrically using power from the vehicle's 12V electric motor and start-stop system.