The benefits of reducing vehicle weight can be easily quantified in terms of miles per gallon or CO2 emissions, but it is less immediately obvious how lightweighting improves vehicle safety.
The chassis is the base from which a vehicle’s safety begins. No matter how many driver assistance features are on the car, if it is involved in a collision at speed, the chassis must hold its own and prevent the occupants from being crushed. At the same time, it must also absorb energy intelligently to ensure that forces are not transferred into the cabin. The exterior body panels must also protect passengers via a degree of deformation, but, as ever, this must all be done whilst weight continues to fall, and driving dynamics improve….