Reducing Vehicle Weight Is Key to GM’s Zero-Emissions Strategy
Lightening vehicles lessens the force it takes to move them and reduces their emissions. Since 2016, GM has lightened 14 of its vehicles by a combined 5,000 pounds. That has saved 35 million gallons of fuel and cutting annual CO2 emissions by 312,000 metric tons.
Reducing vehicle weight is important enough that GM has an entire group devoted to it: the global vehicle mass integration and strategy team. This team works to develop new technologies, lighten and consolidate vehicle parts, and create manufacturing processes that support lightweighting.
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“We are able to work with a broad material selection and utilize the manufacturing tools and technologies to ‘put the right materials in the right place’ while designing a vehicle around a specific customer type,” said GM engineer Rob Peckham.
Here are a few of GM’s recent lightweighting accomplishments:
- The all-new 2019 GMC Sierra Denali features an industry-first carbon fiber cargo box. The CarbonPro box is 62 pounds lighter than the steel box it replaced, and it also boasts heavy-duty corrosion, dent, and scratch resistance.
- Engineers shaved even more weight from the Sierra (up to 360 pounds) by strategically substituting aluminum for steel in the tailgate, hood, and doors.
- GM is partnering with Autodesk to use new software that optimizes the design and manufacturing of vehicle parts. These often-lightweight designs can be 3D-printed in a way that’s more flexible and customizable than traditional manufacturing. For example, designers used the program to create a single 3D-printed part, replacing one that used eight separately manufactured ones and was much heavier.
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