Magna International, a global auto supplier, showcased an ultralight car door design at the North American International Auto Show that is just 42.5% the mass of an average production door now.
It was touted as an example of an engineering trend toward reducing vehicle weight, and in turn the amount of fuel it takes to go as far.
Ian Simmons, vice president of business development, said that on average it could save car owners as much as $700 a year in fuel costs, an estimated $7,300 for the life of the car.
For the industry, he said, the lighter door means a reduction in carbon emissions in cars with combustion engines. In cars with electric engines it means the vehicle can go further before recharging.
Magna’s engineering team “started from scratch and reimagined the way we think about the design, development and material-use of a door architecture,” said Swamy Kotagiri, Magna’s chief technology officer. “The team leveraged our broad product-development expertise and tackled this challenge in a cost-effective manner while meeting safety, durability and functionality requirements.”
The door integrated Magna’s electronic latch system, which eliminated the need for mechanical hardware. It also uses advanced molding technologies, polymers and aluminum, which cuts about half of the total mass.
The door, the company said, can be made using existing manufacturing processes, without a significant increase in production costs or changes in body-shop infrastructure.
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