Automakers are on the prowl for lighter weight materials to make vehicles less heavy and more fuel efficient, and thus more cost effective not only to run but also to build.
One of the companies eyeing this opportunity is Nanosteel, based in Providence, RI, which creates a lightweight automotive steel of the same name it's promoting for widespread use in the automobile manufacturing industry. The company designs new steels using conventional steel alloying elements in novel combinations that it says results in improved performance over similar materials.
The company has released an infographic on automobile lightweighting, comparing the benefits of a lighter-weight car to the benefits of a person losing weight.
Less body weight in a car means lighter suspension, a leaner engine, and a longer range the vehicle can travel without all of its gasoline. Similarly, when a person loses weight, it's easier on their knees, they have a healthy heart, and they have more energy before they become tired.
Weight loss in a car also results in more fuel economy. On average, if an automobile is built with 10% less weight, its fuel economy rises 6% to 7%, according to Nanosteel.
Moreover, 10% less weight in a car is equal to about 350 lb, a considerable amount that could improve performance substantially, the company said. Nanosteel provides some real-life and even humorous comparisons to this weight, saying it is equal to three teenagers, 24 bowling balls, 450 staplers or 1,266 mobile phones.
Check out the infographic.
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Elizabeth Montalbano is a freelance writer who has written about technology and culture for more than 15 years. She has lived and worked as a professional journalist in Phoenix, San Francisco and New York City. In her free time she enjoys surfing, traveling, music, yoga and cooking. She currently resides in a village on the southwest coast of Portugal.