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Cutting Vehicle Weight

With gasoline prices creeping higher every day, cutting fuel costs has become a top priority for car buyers. Auto manufacturers know that even a small reduction in a car's weight can translate into big savings at the gas pump, and that's why they're exploring new aluminum alloys that are as strong as steel but weigh far less.

In partnership with General Motors and Sapa, one of the world's leading aluminum products manufacturers, a team of researchers is now developing vehicle undercarriage components made from lightweight aluminum alloys. The team is using modelling technology to test new designs that reduce the frame's weight while maintaining its safety and structural integrity. The team is also working to simplify the manufacturing process to make it more cost-effective.

This four-year project is receiving $3.6 million from Automotive Partnership Canada. General Motors plans to start using the new lightweight components in mid-size vehicles in 2017.