When the 1908 Ford Model T model debuted, it tipped the scales at around 1,450 pounds. That ain’t much, considering that there are only a handful of cars on the market that weigh 2,500 pounds or less. Cars have gotten heavier over the following century as a result of bigger engines, safety features, and changes in customer tastes. It’s a shame cars didn’t go in the other direction. The benefits of light cars are tremendous to both performance and fuel economy.
The 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show Design Studio is asking the major automakers to come up with a four-person car that weighs less than 1,000 pounds, without sacrificing looks, comfort, or driving performance. Sounds like a tall order.
I really like old cars for their simplicity. Everything was mechanical, there were about five wires, no computers and they tended to weigh less. Of course, they also lack many safety features that make everyday driving survivable. However… if cars on average weighed 1/4 of what they weigh today, many of these bulky safety systems could similarly be toned down, possibly even dismissed altogether.
Still, consumers want their toys inside their cars, and Americans aren’t exactly tiny people, so fitting four of them into a vehicle with spirited driving performance won’t be easy. The contest calls for a maximum weight of no more than 1,500 pounds with four passengers. Expect to see lots of fancy plastics, carbon fiber, and maybe even a lightweight cloth-like material to be used. Just don’t expect such lightweight vehicles to make it into production anytime soon.
Light cars would solve a lot of problems when it comes to fuel efficiency and performance. Could it work in the real world though?
Source: Green Car Advisor