Ford Motor Co. (F) and Magna International Inc. (MGA) collaborated to design a multi-material lightweight vehicle (MML.V) concept which utilizes advanced lightweight and high-strength materials. As a result, the vehicle weighs 25% lower than current production vehicles. The change in materials also results in environmental benefits, while improving fuel economy.
The research and development (R&D) was partly funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (:DOE) as part of the lightweight materials project portfolio of its Vehicle Technologies Office. The R&D was primarily conducted by Magna International, with Ford providing necessary assistance.
The project entailed engineering, prototype-building and selected validation testing. Magna International produced the closures, chassis and bumper components, while Ford provided the vehicles, powertrains, tires/wheels, suspension, interiors, glass and seating required to build a vehicle for testing.
The concept vehicle was developed along the lines of the production version of the 2013 Ford Fusion. It used aluminum extensively along with various other materials, which reduced the weight of the family sedan significantly without affecting the safety or performance standard of the car.
Ford is taking an active interest in aluminum-based vehicles. Earlier this year, the automaker launched the new version of the Ford F-150, which is made with high-strength aluminum alloys used in aerospace, commercial transportation, energy and many other rugged industries. This metal improves the dent and dings resistance of the vehicle and also reduces its weight by 700 pounds. The light weight leads to improved speed and fuel efficiency.
Ford and Magna International carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) at present. Some better-ranked automobile stocks worth considering are Fox Factory Holding Corp (FOXF), and Tower International, Inc. (TOWR), which carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).