CHASSIS (Composite Hybrid Automotive Suspension System Innovative Structures)

Lead Participant: Ford Motor Company Limited

Abstract

The automotive industry is heaviliy being driven towards weight reduction as a means of achieving ever more demanding emissions (CO2 and fuel economy) requirements. Lower weight solutions for traditional steel and aluminium chassis components are failing to deliver the step improvements required to give lighter LCVs or the required weight reductions for Hybrid Vehicle Architectures. This project focuses on the development of hybrid composite/steel material solutions; used in a optimised way to save weight via step reductions in material weight but also via reduction of parts and interfaces across a full Transit van chassis. This will be done by using some of the latest Design and Process optimisation tools available on the market today. An essential part of the project is the selection and development of a reliable, robust and cost effective composite manufacturing process since rapid, repeatible and productive processese are key to accelerate the use of composites for mass production vehicles. The aim of the project is to achieve a 37% weight saving (circa 25Kg) over the existing full steel Transit Van chassis without reducing any of the vehicles perfomance attributes

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