Impact of Vehicle Weight Reduction on Fuel Economy for Various Vehicle Architectures

This research report was performed by Ricardo Inc. and funded by The Aluminum Association to evaluate miles per gallon (MPG) gains by using lightweight aluminum in gas and diesel vehicles. In the study, physics models were developed using MSC.Easy 5 simulation software with production cars and trucks from 2008 as base models. These simulation models were compared to base models by reducing engine size and vehicle weight by 5%, 10%, and 20%. Overall it’s concluded that reducing engine size results in greater fuel economy than reducing vehicle weight.

Description:

This research report was performed by Ricardo Inc. and funded by The Aluminum Association to evaluate miles per gallon (MPG) gains by using lightweight aluminum in gas and diesel vehicles. In the study, physics models were developed using MSC.Easy 5 simulation software with production cars and trucks from 2008 as base models. These simulation models were compared to base models by reducing engine size and vehicle weight by 5%, 10%, and 20%. Overall, it’s concluded that reducing engine size results in greater fuel economy than reducing vehicle weight. Other observations include the following:

  • Weight reduction produces higher fuel economy at speeds lower than 30 mph compared to higher speeds due to tractive force.
  • Reducing engine displacement raises brake mean effective pressure resulting in higher MPG and engine efficiency.
  • Truck engines cannot be downsized as much as cars due to performance demands when under load, thus benefitting more from weight reduction.
Classification:
Materials Lightweighting
Product Lifecycle:
Pre-production: Research, Design, Development, Testing, and Tooling
Resource Type:
Paper/Report
Institution:
The Aluminum Association
Author & Title:
Ricardo Inc.
Date Developed:
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Keywords:
Aluminum,Efficiency,MSC.Easy5,Ricardo
Education Level:
Undergrad Students (13-14)
Undergrad Students (15-16)
Audience:
Industry Professionals/Practitioners
Researcher

Resource Files:

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