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Review of technical literature and trends related to automobile mass-reduction technology


  • Lutsey, Nicholas P.


Past automotive trends, ongoing technology breakthroughs, and recent announcements by automakers make it clear that reducing the mass of automobiles is a critical technology objective for vehicle performance, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and fuel economy. Vehicle mass-reduction technology offers the potential to reduce the mass of vehicles without compromise in other vehicle attributes, like acceleration, size, cargo capacity, or structural integrity. As regulatory agencies continue to assess more stringent CO2 and fuel economy standards for the future, it is unclear the exact extent to which vehicle mass-reduction technology will be utilized alongside other efficiency technologies like advanced combustion and hybrid system technology. This report reviews ongoing automotive trends, research literature, and advanced concepts for vehicle mass optimization in an attempt to better characterize where automobiles – and their mass in particular – might be headed.

Suggested Citation

  • Lutsey, Nicholas P., 2010. "Review of technical literature and trends related to automobile mass-reduction technology," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt9t04t94w, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:itsdav:qt9t04t94w

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Christopher R. Knittel, 2011. "Automobiles on Steroids: Product Attribute Trade-Offs and Technological Progress in the Automobile Sector," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3368-3399, December.
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    1. repec:eee:energy:v:140:y:2017:i:p1:p:365-373 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Lewis, Anne Marie & Kelly, Jarod C. & Keoleian, Gregory A., 2014. "Vehicle lightweighting vs. electrification: Life cycle energy and GHG emissions results for diverse powertrain vehicles," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 13-20.
    3. Mayyas, Ahmad & Qattawi, Ala & Omar, Mohammed & Shan, Dongri, 2012. "Design for sustainability in automotive industry: A comprehensive review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 1845-1862.
    4. Rootzén, Johan & Johnsson, Filip, 2016. "Paying the full price of steel – Perspectives on the cost of reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the steel industry," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 459-469.

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    UCD-ITS-RR-10-10; Engineering;


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