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Reducing Vehicle Weight with CAE


Benefits of Reducing Weight

  • Reduce cost: Reducing the amount of material used in the manufacture of the vehicle reduces the cost of the vehicle. Further related cost savings can be achieved through a reduction in processing, handling, transportation and storage costs.
  • Reduce fuel consumption: Reducing the weight of the vehicle reduces the fuel consumption of the vehicle. This reduces the operating cost for the customer.
  • Reducing emissions: Reducing the weight of the vehicle will reduce the load on the engine particularly during acceleration reducing unburned hydrocarbon emissions
  • Increasing load carrying capacity: the amount of load a commercial vehicle can transport is limited by its GVW. Reducing the weight of the base vehicle frees up weight allowance that can be used to transport more goods thereby increasing the profitability of the vehicle.
  • Improving vehicle handling: reducing the sprung mass of the vehicle should improve its handling performance particularly when the vehicle dynamics are optimised for the new vehicle weight.
  • Improved vehicle safety: reducing the weight of the vehicle will reduce its momentum and so should improve its impact performance.
  • Increasing sales: All of the above benefits will result in an increase in demand for the product.  This increased demand can be turned into increased unit sales or margins or a combination of the two.

Challenges to Reducing Vehicle Weight

  • Changing performance targets: the vehicle or component will be in a constant state of development to improve one or more of the following: styling, aerodynamics, NVH, safety, vehicle dynamics, weight, cost, size.
  • New applications: the chassis and subsystems such as suspension and brakes will be carried over to different sub-segments to increase sales volumes either within or across segments for example hatchback, estate, crossover. There may be 2WD and 4WD variants and different powertrain options including diesel hybrid and pure EV.
  • New environments: the vehicle may be sold in different geographical markets to increase sales. These may have significantly different road conditions and operating temperatures than the home market.
  • New duty cycles: new customers may introduce more severe usage patterns for example the police or military environment.

The Importance of Design Verification using CAE
Whenever a design is changed, for whatever reason, it is essential that the product is tested either physically or virtually to determine whether those changes have had a negative effect on its weight. For example a durability improvement exercise can add material to the product which may increase its weight. This outcome can be minimised through good design based on a solid understanding of structural mechanics fundamentals and materials.

As discussed in the Vehicle page CAE simulation allows the engineer to verify relatively quickly and cheaply whether the revised product still meets its weight targets. To read more about the benefits of CAE click here.

When reducing weight is the main design objective then CAE simulation can be performed to check any negative consequences on any of the other attributes including durability, NVH, thermal, safety, vehicle dynamics and aerodynamics. For example reducing the weight of a front sub-frame could reduce its strength which may negatively affect its crash performance. Again this outcome can be mitigated through good design based on a solid understanding of structural mechanics fundamentals, materials knowledge and advanced problem and product specific simulation tools.

The Caepro Advantage
Caepro has performed weight reduction CAE on the major components of the vehicle both individually and as an assembly. This includes changes through both geometry and material type.  See one of our Vehicle Weight Reduction Case Studies. Our deep product knowledge and experience enables us to:

  • Understand your objectives for the product
  • Prepare a model optimised for calculation speed and accuracy
  • Apply appropriate boundary conditions
  • Perform simulation using world-class procedures and tools
  • Make sensible recommendations for design improvements
  • Minimise any negative impact on other attributes

To get more information or to request a quote for engine Vehicle Reduction CAE please submit an enquiry. For more on why Caepro is the best partner for your outsourced CAE requirements please read our 9 Reasons for Using Caepro article.

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