FOCUS: LIGHTWEIGHT W hat would modern cars look like if Henry Ford had a crystal ball and was able to use the technology we have today? Since the ﬁrst Model T rolled out of the factory the automotive industry has developed through change and improvement, but with the cars of the age as a starting point. If crash safety wasn’t sufﬁcient, carmakers improved it by strengthening the bodywork and adding various safety systems. If comfort was improved it also meant weight was added. Modern cars are quite simply too heavy. If cars of the future are to meet the lower CO2 emissions levels they need to lose weight. According to the EU’s emission requirements, family cars will only be allowed to emit 95 g of CO2 per kilometre by 2020, which few of today’s cars can manage. “Weight loss is vital for car manufacturers. If nothing is done then they won’t be able to meet the new legislative requirements of 2020 at all,” says Anders Holmkvist, project manager for SåNätt. “It’s a matter of win or lose for many OEMs (original equipment manufacturers)” adds Lars-Göran Dandebo, Semcon’s project manager for SåNätt. BUT IT IS NOT only because of reduced CO2 emis- “Even if electric cars become the prevailing driveline of the future, lightweight solutions are still necessary,” says Lars-Göran. “The lighter the car the further it will travel with a battery under the bonnet.” Both Anders Holmkvist and Lars-Göran Dandebo have had key roles in the project since it started in February 2010. It was when Saab Automotive gained independence from GM and it wanted to ﬁnd a new way of working with its subcontractors that the idea of lightweight cooperation was hatched. The “Leverantörsstruktur för lättare fordon” (supplier structure for lighter vehicles) research project took shape. To make things simple it was called SåNätt, which alludes to lightweight and the old Saab model, Sonett. HALF OF THE FINANCE for the project comes from There are a total of 41 players involved, including Volvo Cars, a number of universities, colleges, suppliers and Semcon. SOMETHING THAT THE PROJECT works towards is to come up with really innovative solutions in order to build a car that weighs less than 1,000 kg, but in terms of quality, size and comfort is the same as a Volvo V60, which today weighs around 1,700 kg. SåNätt is split into seven groups who work on different parts of the car: suspension, cockpit, roof, seats, chassis, superstructure and a complete car team. sions from the manufactured car that lightweight solutions are important, but also because they will be more sustainable than today’s cars. Lighter cars using lighter materials and fewer parts will mean fewer, lighter deliveries to factories, meaning less burden on the environment. 18 FUTURE BY SEMCON 2.2012 FFI, which is a collaboration between the Swedish state, the Swedish auto manufacturers and FKG, which is the subcontractors’ industry organization for the automotive industry in Scandinavia. The idea was for Saab to work more closely with its suppliers and let them be more involved in the entire development process. When Saab Automotive then went bankrupt Volvo Cars took over as OEM for the project. “Lightweight is an absolute must for Volvo Cars,” says Elisabeth Horbury, Volvo’s project manager for SåNätt. “The demands on energy consumption will be tough in the future, with overall resource consumption playing a significant role. Innovation that focuses on weight generates opportunities in both these areas.” Elisabeth also thinks that the project’s setup is interesting. “The Swedish companies possess a great deal of expertise, creating lots of interesting proposals, because suppliers don’t usually work with complete vehicles.” The SåNätt project A collaboration between 41 players from the automotive industry, academia and the state to boost the Swedish automotive industry. The objective is to make it possible to reduce the weight of cars by 20 to 40 per cent by 2020. The budget for the project is SEK 60 million, where half is from the state-run FFI programme and half from other players.