Safety requirements “keep going up and up,” which make it harder to reduce vehicle weight, Belanger said. “That’s why you have to utilize innovations.” Lacks Enterprises Inc. (Grand Rapids, MI) has developed an au- tomotive wheel that the company estimates is 10 lb (4.5 kg) lighter than a typical 40 lb (18-kg) wheel. Lacks cut the weight by designing a lighter aluminum inner structure. Foam is then injected between the interior structure and the compos- ite surface.
The foam ensures there aren’t openings in the wheel, said James Ardern, general manager of Lacks Wheel Trim Systems.
Ford Motor Co. has converted its Super Duty line of pickups to aluminum body panels, similar to the F-150.
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