WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR) today announced a $70 million, five year agreement to develop lightweight, high-strength materials that increase fuel efficiency through a reduction of vehicle weight without compromising safety. It is estimated that every ten percent reduction in vehicle weight results in an approximate seven percent savings in fuel.
“Lighter weight vehicles can make a noticeable improvement in fuel efficiency,” Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman said. “This research will help to reduce oil usage and reduce emissions, while maintaining the highest of safety standards.”
DOE’s FreedomCAR Program and USCAR’s U.S. Automotive Materials Partnership will split the cost of research and development for a number of new materials and technologies that will reduce weight without compromising durability, reliability, and safety of vehicles. None of the DOE funds go to the automakers, rather the resources are directed to government labs, universities and suppliers to help develop the nation's technology base.
Improved manufacturing and use of advanced high-strength steel can reduce vehicle weight by 15 to 25 percent. The research will also work to develop new alloys of aluminum, magnesium and titanium to be used in vehicle framing, body, powertrain and engine components. Beyond metals, new materials for use in car manufacturing such as carbon fiber and polymer matrix composites could produce weight reductions from 25 and up to 70 percent.
“Bringing together the best minds in industry, government and academia will develop technology faster and more cost effectively than any one organization could do alone,” USCAR Executive Director Bill Gouse said.
USCAR facilitates cooperative research among DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation who share the common goal of strengthening the technology base of the U. S. automotive industry.
Mike Waldron, 202/586-4940
Tom Welch, 202/586-5806