A lightweight urban natural gas vehicle concept presented by Magna
Magna International Inc. will showcase its diverse capabilities through the MILA Blue vehicle concept at Geneva Motor Show 2014. MILA Blue is a natural-gas powered, A-segment lightweight vehicle that produces less than 49 g CO2/km.
MILA Blue, the seventh concept vehicle in the MILA family, represents a new lightweight design approach. As a result of interaction between an optimized vehicle architecture and the latest lightweight design concepts, as well as novel materials and joining technologies, MILA Blue achieves a weight savings of 300 kg compared to typical current A-segment vehicles.
According to Günther Apfalter, President of Magna International Europe, “As the automotive industry continues to look for ways to become more environmentally friendly, Magna continues to leverage its engineering expertise to bring our customers solutions that meet their challenges. MILA Blue underscores our technological competence in lightweight construction and alternative drives, which help answer the demands of global CO2 reduction.”
Intelligent Lightweight Design
MILA Blue’s weight-reduction achievement is based on a holistic, lightweight engineering concept that rests on three pillars:
- Functional integration – for example, replacing plastic interior trim with structural parts suitably designed with laminable, visually attractive surfaces.
- Material substitution – multi-material approach including aluminum, magnesium and composite materials to deliver cost-effective, innovative lightweight modules.
- Downsizing – leveraging smaller, lighter components while at the same time maintaining function and performance.
Alternative Drive Concept
MILA Blue uses an alternative drive system, a compressed natural gas hybrid drive that achieves a carbon footprint of less than 49 g CO2/km. Refueling with biogas instead of fossil-derived natural gas can bring about an additional improvement in the carbon footprint to < 36 g CO2/km. The combustion engine is coupled with an automatic manual transmission and a belt-driven starter generator. Due to the vehicle’s comparatively light weight, crawling along in stop-and-go traffic and cruising up to 30 km/h can be done electrically using power from the vehicle’s 12V-based electric motor and start-stop system.
Lightweight design enables downsizing of the powertrain in a great extent, even more for an urban vehicle that doesn’t need a lot of power. My concern here is about safety. Do you think that such a vehicle is able to meet safety standards and pass EuroNCAP tests with the lightweight materials that are used?