Auto Manifesto

March 18, 2009

Lighter Wheels

Alcoa will produce lightweight aluminum wheels for the upcoming Chevy Volt. The company is already doing so for a few vehicle models, some as much as 30% lighter than regular wheels.

Besides any potential aerodynamic improvement, wheels are simple bolt-on components that can provide immediate gain. Not only that but unsprung mass (as well as rotating mass) offers even further benefits than sprung components, as well as have a knock-on effect.

Lighter wheels can mean lighter suspension components, shocks, brakes, and so on. It's a virtuous cycle of lightweighting. Finally, for hybrid and electric cars this means extended battery range as well.

Source: Automotive News

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