While the 2015 Mustang is probably putting on some weight for its 50th anniversary, the rest of the Ford lineup is on a serious diet. This Ford Fusion has shed nearly 25% of its weight through the “holistic” use of lightweight materials like aluminum and carbon fiber.
While the name “Lightweight Concept Car” isn’t what one might call inspiring, by replacing almost all the steel bits with aluminum, Ford shed about 800 pounds off the curb weight of this Ford Fusion. It’s the same tactic applied to the 2015 Ford F-150, which resulted in a 700 pound diet despite sticking with a steel frame.The Fusion also utilizes ultra-high-strength steel, magnesium, and carbon fiber throughout the body and drivetrain in order to the pounds, lowering the Fusion’s curb weight by some 23%.
In Ford’s own words, this mid-size Fusion weighs about as much as the subcompact Fiesta, or about 2,600 pounds. That could help the Fusion achieve Fiesta-like fuel economy of 40 MPG or more, which would put it at the front of the pack without embracing any sort of hybrid tech.
Of course developing a mostly-aluminum concept isn’t cheap, and even though Ford plans to add more aluminum parts to cars across its lineup, it won’t happen overnight. There’s also more exotic (and more expensive) materials, like carbon fiber reinforced plastic, that Ford has dabbled with in the past, but aluminum is going to be the way forward for Blue Oval vehicles. Ford has yet to even price the 2015 F-150, but it has to do something about the growing weight of all its vehicles, and going aluminum makes the most sense. Heavy cars and high MPGs just don’t mix, and the most efficient gas engines in the world can’t alter the laws of physics.
Across the board, automakers have added features, some mandatory, some not, that have increased the average weight of new cars year after year. A standard 2013 Ford Fusion weighs in at some 3,400 pounds, depending on options, and while it’s not exactly a “heavyweight”, all that heft isn’t helping fuel economy.
The Blue Oval invested big into its EcoBoost engine, and outlets like Consumer Reports haven’t been all that impressed by the real world MPGs. If the next generation of Ford vehicles goes on this kind of extreme diet though, those smaller turbo motors could the kind of hybrid-rivaling MPGs we’ve been looking for.