Putting Material in Its Place
Shedding weight to make cars more efficient is complicated by the economic advantages of using as many of the same components as possible in multiple models, says Altair Engineering’s Richard Yen.
Shedding weight to make cars more efficient is complicated by the economic advantages of using as many of the same components as possible in multiple models.
Richard Yen, Altair Engineering’s senior vice president of global automotive business, says carmakers use the 34-year-old company’s high-performance computer modeling software to more accurately make structural decisions about the amount and placement of materials. The process, he adds, is occurring earlier and earlier in the design and engineering process.
This year’s winners of Altair Engineering’s Enlighten awards are the Jeep Wrangler SUV and Ferrari Portofino sports car, which are 179 lbs and 203 lbs lighter, respectively, that prior models.
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Ram Truck chief exterior designer Joe Dehner talks about how they’ve developed the all-new pickup. “We’ve been building trucks for over 100 years,” he says. “Best I could come up with is that this is our 15th-generation truck.”
Once the playground of exotic car makers, the definition of a niche vehicle has expanded to include image vehicles for mainstream OEMs, and specialist models produced on high-volume platforms.
Hyundai enters the American market with a new parallel hybrid system that uses lithium-polymer batteries and the same six-speed automatic found in non-hybrid versions of the 2011 Sonata.