When Ford’s new F-150 pickup comes to market later this year it will shed as much as 700 pounds, a move that is expected to yield significant improvements in both performance and fuel economy. And now, the automaker is hinting it has even more aggressive plans in mind for a future version of its popular midsize model, the Fusion.
The Detroit maker is showing off a new, super-light version of the sedan that makes use of aluminum and other materials to drop a full 800 pounds compared to the current Fusion. And though there are no immediate plans to put the prototype into production, it will influence future product development programs.
Part of Ford’s so-called Blueprint for Sustainability, the project reflects a growing focus on lightweighting, the auto industry’s way of saying that vehicles have to go on a diet if manufacturers hope to meet the tough new fuel economy standards coming into effect in the U.S. over the next decade, as well as stiffer CO2 emissions rules in Europe. The good news for consumers is that by reducing weight a vehicle like the Fusion won’t necessarily have to be downsized to achieve significant improvements in mileage.