Use of Lightweight Materials Increased Significantly Over Last 20 Years

8th June 2017

Brought to our attention by Green Car Congress, The US Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy has revealed some interesting data showing the change of materials used in vehicles over the last 20 years.

The data shows that as automakers look to save weight and improve fuel economy across their product lines, they have turned increasingly to lighter weight materials.

Use of regular steel has declined by over 250 lb per vehicle from 1995 to 2014 while the use of high- and medium-strength steels has increased by 325 lb per vehicle. The increased use of high- and medium-strength steel is significant because it allows manufacturers to improve the structural integrity of vehicles while keeping the overall vehicle weight to a minimum.

The use of plastics and composites has also increased by almost 40% and lightweight magnesium castings have seen greater use in dashboards and other interior applications such as seat components, replacing the heavier steel components that were previously used.


Average Materials Content of Light Vehicles, 1995-2014