Metabo Mania Hits Japanese Automakers

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams
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metabo mania hits japanese automakers

Japan has laws mandating the size of your waistline. And now the auto companies are slimming down their cars–any way they can. Automotive News [sub] reports Nissan plans to reduce its fleet's average weight by 15 percent by 2015 (from 2005 levels). Toyota is looking for a 10 percent loss. Mazda wants to pare 220 lbs. from each of its new models. Honda's trimming down (2008 Accord notwithstanding), but hasn't publicized any goals. Automakers are doing what they can to lose weight, from using aluminum and plastic body panels to re-engineering existing components to make them lighter. For example, the next Prius' electric motor will be one-sixth as heavy as the current powerplant; the batteries will weigh half as much. Honda's even going so far as to shave off slivers of steel between spot welds on the Fit to save a few ounces overall. Adding lightness is an expensive business, but with existing safety regulations and new fuel efficiency standards, there may be no choice.

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  • Steve-O Steve-O on Jul 07, 2008

    Ford's effort is to use 'Nano coatings" to reduce vehicle weight:

  • Nicodemus Nicodemus on Jul 08, 2008

    "Mazda wants to pare 220 lbs. from each of its new models." RX8 Model Year 2006 - 1337 KG RX8 Model Year 2008 - 1374 KG Hmmm....

  • Durailer Durailer on Jul 08, 2008

    Hmmm... I guess domestic carowners will have to trim off their own waistlines to reduce fuel costs...

  • Gcorley Gcorley on Jul 08, 2008

    Firstly, please note that the Prius weight reductions are quoted, in the original article, as being compared with the "1st generation" Prius (not current). The current Prius is the "2nd generation" - perhaps someone knows what weight reductions there were already between the 1st & 2nd generations? Secondly, I work in the electric motor industry and I would be very surprised if you could produce a motor with the same power for only 1/6 of the weight! The latest weight optimization developments in electric motors are mostly related to the magnets, which can be significantly reduced in size & weight when going from ferrite to neodymium. However, this would not result in a 5/6 reduction. The rest of the motor is made primarily from steel laminations & copper windings, which are needed to produce the necessary torque/power.