Mazda’s new goal at some point will become mathematically impossible to achieve. But for now, Mazda vows to shed at least 220 pounds of weight each and every time it redesigns one of its cars.
The Japanese automaker has already begun its commitment through SkyActiv technology, which debuted in the U.S. on the CX-5. To increase fuel economy, Mazda created the CX-5 using lightweight designs. The2013 Mazda CX-5 weighs in at 575 pounds lighter than the utility vehicle it replaced.
Mazda has made sweeping changes to its lineup, reducing weight significantly. Mazda is redesigning car frames so that less steel is needed to provide adequate strength. It has also switched from heavy to lighter bolts that weigh eight grams less each, adding up to a huge change in the long run.
Now that these redesigns are implemented, Mazda will have to come up with clever ideas to continue to scrape less and less weight off its cars while still maintaining necessary safety and convenience features. Mazda may have to follow in the footsteps of BMW, Audi, and other automakers in using advanced carbon fiber technology, which can reduce weight up to 50 percent over traditional steel. As more cars use carbon fiber, the high costs of the material may come down, making it a more viable option for automakers in the future.
Due to new CAFE regulations, automakers will be required to build more fuel-efficient cars and trucks. By 2016, average fuel economy must reach 34.1 mpg, and by 2025, this number will jump to a required 54.5 mpg.
Despite the need for increased fuel economy, Mazda’s plan to make lighter and lighter vehicles can only go so far. To meet the strict new government standards, Mazda may eventually be required to design some vehicles that run on alternative sources of power, such as electricity, natural gas, or hydrogen.
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