Even though emission standards don’t affect us Malaysians in our ownership of a car, it has and will drastically change the way cars are designed. This is so that car companies will be able to meet standards set by the EU, which is one of the biggest car buying markets in the world.
In a bid to meet those stricter standards, Nissan has announced that they will be slashing the weight of their models by 15 percent, compared to 2005 models. Nissan also aims to increase fuel economy in its fleet to about 30 percent by 2015. This is said to involve cutting up to 110 kilograms from the next generation of each model, giving a 5 percent increase in fuel economy for each car.
The company’s diet regime will comprise of three processes, which is the use of new engineering and design architectures, lightweight material such as high tensile steel and advanced construction.
A good example of this process is in the redesigning of the Infiniti M. The car shed 15 kilograms by just using high tensile steel. It lost another 1.4 kilograms when they replaced the car’s solid synthetic resin floor undercover with a spongy foam core. The Nissan 370Z also lost 20 kilograms by using aluminum steel instead of steel, just for the doors and the boot lid.
Other avenues for reducing weight are in the vehicle construction process. Components are usually made slightly thicker as it takes into account some margin of error in forecasting bending and breaking points. Thus if they use more accurate computer modeling, engineers can do away with the extra bulk.