Magna presents results of multimaterial testing in concept car

Magna's multimaterial lightweight vehicle (MMLV) concept, developed with Ford, shows 16% improvement in global warming potential and 16% improvement in total primary energy.

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Magna International Inc. (Troy, MI, US) reported on Jan. 30 that it has completed validation testing on the multimaterial lightweight vehicle (MMLV) concept it developed in cooperation with Ford Motor Co. and the US Department of Energy (DoE). The tests show that the MMLV design offers clear advantages in terms of global warming potential and the use of energy.

Magna recently co-presented the test results with Ford at the SAE 2015 Government/Industry Meeting in Washington, D.C. As part of the presentation, results of a life cycle assessment (LCA) study were disclosed, in which the lightweight auto parts of the MMLV vehicle design were compared to the conventional auto parts of the baseline 2013 Ford Fusion.

The LCA study predicts that the cradle-to-grave total net savings of the MMLV (in percentage basis), relative to the cradle-to-grave LCA of the 2013 Fusion, resulted in significant environmental benefits of 16% improvement in global warming potential and 16% improvement in total primary energy (fuel usage plus the energy needed to produce and recycle materials).

"The MMLV project shows the potential benefits of combining lightweight vehicle technologies and a downsized, high-output engine to reduce greenhouse gases and total energy," says Swamy Kotagiri, magna's chief technical officer. "While this is a research prototype, the MMLV points the way to a more sustainable future. We at Magna are working diligently to make these lightweight technologies affordable for high volume production."

The LCA was conducted per the appropriate ISO standards and with guidance from the Canadian Standards Association, and was performed by an outside, third-party consultant separate from Magna and Ford.

The MMLV concept is based on the production version of a 2013 Ford Fusion and defines a new aluminum-intensive passenger-car structure. The concept, which also makes use of carbon fiber, magnesium and titanium, reduces the weight of the Fusion to that of a 2013 Ford Fiesta, making the weight of a CD segment family sedan approximately equal to that of a subcompact B-car – two vehicle segments lighter – without compromising performance or occupant safety.

The project includes engineering, prototype vehicle build and selected validation testing associated with a new aluminum-intensive passenger vehicle design architecture, facilitating an extensive use of advanced lightweight and high-strength materials, resulting in environmental and fuel-economy benefits.