FCA, Toyota, Faurecia and AP&T win 5th Altair Enlighten Awards for innovation in lightweighting
Troy, Mich.—Altair and the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) announced the winners of the 5th annual Altair Enlighten Award, which strives to promote and celebrate innovation in automotive lightweighting.
The winner of the Full Vehicle category was the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica, which is 249 pounds lighter than its predecessor. Toyota’s carbon fiber closure panels for the 2017 Prius Prime and Lexus LC500, and Faurecia’s Adaptive Valve for exhaust systems employed on the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado took the top honors for the module category. Swedish metal forming specialist AP&T claimed the Enabling Technology category for its innovative aluminum forming technology used on several European vehicles. The awards were presented at the 2017 CAR Management Briefing Seminars (MBS) in Traverse City, Mich.
“For the 5th year, our expanding field of global entries demonstrates an incredibly impressive range of innovations helping to meet the worldwide weight reduction challenges of modern automotive manufacturing,” said judging chair Dr. Jay Baron, president and CEO of CAR, and director of CAR’s Coalition for Automotive Lightweighting Materials.
The FCA team built the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica from the ground up to achieve a lighter vehicle with improved safety, better NVH performance and superior interior space and comfort. The body system, which shed 168 pounds, used high strength steels and large amounts of dual phase and hot stamped material grades for improved impact protection at reduced weight. Aluminum and cast magnesium were used for the rear sliding door, liftgate and the instrument panel beam, while the front-end module is a steel-plastic overmold to improve part integration and stiffness.
For the module category, which focuses on vehicle systems, subsystems and components, the international judging panel could not split the winners, opting to award the top prize to both Toyota and Faurecia. Toyota’s winning entry concerned the side and luggage doors of the 2017 Lexus LC and the liftgate of the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime which feature carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) inner panels, combined with aluminum, glass-fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP) and polypropylene outers for components that are 47 percent lighter than conventional metal structures.
“We are honored to receive Altair’s Enlighten Award for the FCM Adaptive Valve,” said Dave DeGraaf, President of Faurecia Clean Mobility North America. “We are also extremely proud of our Adaptive Valve team for their hard work on this project. This recognition is a testament to their creativity and dedication.”
The runner-up for this year’s Full Vehicle award was Honda for the multi-material space frame used to make the 2017 Acura NSX 48.5 pounds lighter.