Volkswagen has developed a Golf with a bodyshell that’s 30 per cent lighter than a standard five-door Golf’s.
The culmination of a four-year programme involving four other car makers and 32 suppliers, the results of the SuperlightCar project will be applied to production cars from 2012 onwards.
The body-in-white is still made mostly from steel, but it uses magnesium, aluminium and plastics to achieve the weight reduction.
Three ‘concepts’ were developed — one made purely of steel, one with mixed materials but built to a low cost and one with more expensive mixed materials, which cut the weight of a Mk5 Golf by 41 per cent (114kg). Even the all-steel shell reduced the weight by 55kg, or 20 per cent.
The final shell is a combination of all three to achieve a compromise of cost and weight reduction (82kg). One of the project’s goals was for each kilogram saved to cost under €5.
The SuperlightCar also has to be as crashworthy as a normal Golf and be suitable to be made in sufficiently large numbers — up to 1000 cars a day.
There’s no word yet on which manufacturer will start using the technologies first, but Renault, Volvo, Opel and Daimler are all involved with the programme.