The effect of a heavy car

Cars today are heavy. We demand things like satellite navigation, safety equipment, heated electric seats, and many other amenities. That's all well and good but these things add weight, and while not all of them weigh a lot individually. It adds up.

With all the added weight in cars you need an increase in horsepower to keep the car moving at a decent pace. This of course requires more fuel because lets face it, horsepower isn't free. Not only that but additional weight also ruins the balance and handling of a car. This in turn ruins how much fun the car is to drive so creating a lighter car is making a better car in that regard.

Of course giving up everything to create a light car that handles well probably isn't worth it and let's face it if a car lacked features, it wouldn't sell. There is however another way to reduce weight and that is using materials that are lighter than steel. As you probably know already steel is very heavy and cars use a lot of it. If manufacturer's created cars out of ligher materials such as aluminum or if it can be done cheaply enough, carbon fibre and fibre glass. Weight would be much reduced and cars would still maintain the features they have now. A lighter engine also makes a big difference, using aluminum can reduce 100 pounds from one previously made of iron.

Some people believe it's engine technology that will provide the best fuel efficiency for a car but the weight of a vehicle plays an even bigger factor. For example, if you look at a Honda civic from say 20 years ago it's fuel economy will likely be similar or even better than one from today. These cars do not have the technology from today in there engines, nor do they have transmissions that are as efficient. That leaves these cars with one thing and that is you guessed it, weight. Over the years the Civic has gotten bigger and of course heavier as well.

The super light version of the GT3
Not only does decreased weight make a car more fuel efficient, it also makes your car go much faster, which is always nice. Even sports cars have gotten much heavier and is why they have created super light versions of the same model. This begs the question, why not just create one model that has lightened materials and is built much smarter to shed the weight but still give most of the tech and luxury features people demand, because right now it's have it all or none of it. Perhaps you won't be able to get down to all the weight shedding of these super lightweight models, but a little compromise never hurt anyone. Now a lot of these cars use carbon fibre which is quite expensive but using it more sparingly and in areas that will make the biggest difference such as the hood or doors (Not just to make the car look better) would keep costs down.

If cars and trucks are built with lighter materials we will have faster, better handling, and more fuel efficient vehicles and I'm sure everyone would enjoy this. Now we just need to do this at a reasonable price, get on it auto manufacturer's!


Category Article , , , , , ,

What's on Your Mind...