Lightweight construction is one of the ideas driving efforts to cut CO2 emissions. All the same, customers’ space and comfort demands as well as the legal requirements such as new pedestrian protection regulations must be met. Volkswagen views lightweight construction as a strategic core competency that can be deployed in vehicle construction to reduce CO2 emissions. As the inventor of the Audi Space Frame, the Group’s Audi brand is leading the way in the implementation of lightweight construction in the premium segment. The Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand uses high-strength and ultra-high strength steels for affordable lightweight construction in the volume segment. Modern body shells are now much lighter than those of predecessor models and offer greater comfort and safety. Going forward, the focus will therefore increasingly be on combining available lightweight construction technologies and implementing them affordably in large-series projects. This is the only way a substantial contribution can be made to reducing CO2 emissions and operating costs in the long term. After aluminum and ultra-high strength steels, carbon fiber composites and magnesium offer the most potential for lightweight construction. Inspiration is provided by the fields of aerospace research and motorsports. The Volkswagen Group is the frontrunner among automakers worldwide in lightweight construction and will hold a strong position in the future thanks to the Group brands’ different concepts for lightweight construction.
Volkswagen plays a leading role in the “SuperLIGHT car project”, a project funded by the European Commission in which a total of 37 partners have joined forces. The results are compelling: an intelligent mix of aluminium, steel, magnesium and plastic made it possible to reduce the weight of the body in white of a mid-sized saloon by around 35%.