The chassis of a car is a system of structures which dampen and support the other component areas of the vehicle. Acting as the base to all the other component areas, it is analogous to the skeleton of a body and is critical to keep the vehicle away from any torsional deflection. The chassis supports sprung and unsprung mass, dynamic and static loadings, movements and stoppages- in short, a wide variety of critical vehicular functions. Hence chassis design both in terms of shape/form as well as materials needs to be carefully planned.
This report provides insights into light weighting trends and future opportunities in chassis component area specifically targeting the wheels, braking, frames, unibody, Monocoque, steering and suspension systems etc. and the allied sub-components. The report aims to dissect the strategy and preferences for OEMs and Vendors for Chassis light weighting.
The chassis component area comprises of various sub-component areas including the wheels system, the steering system, the chassis frames, the suspension systems and the braking systems. All these component areas are unique and distinct from each other in terms of functionalities as well as force loadings, and yet need to work in conjunction. Together, they can way anywhere in between 20% of vehicular weight for basic frame chassis to 40% and above of vehicular weight for a unibody or Monocoque frame chassis design. The material choice and preferences for the sub-component areas therefore need to be diverse to support the mechanical characteristic requirements, and allow for reduced weights too. Quite clearly a lighter chassis has a great impact on fuel mileage as well as vehicular emissions. The trick then is to use a variety of material choices as per functional requirements.
Additionally, the report discusses concurrently how latest trends in automotive like electrification, ADAS and Autonomy as well as increasing customer requirements are driving the chassis component and material designs concurrently. As per IHS estimates, while BIW is the low hanging fruit for light weighting now, chassis will overtake it as the greatest light weighting potential component area soon. Due to the combination of unsprung mass and rotational mass, lightweighting of rotating chassis components can disproportionately change fuel economy when compared to static systems. As a result, OEMs and Vendors are particularly interested towards light weighting opportunities in the chassis component areas.
Wheels sub-system basics
Materials for the wheels
Chassis frame sub-systems and lightweighting
Suspension sub-systems and lightweighting
Steering sub-systems and lightweighting
Braking sub-systems and lightweighting
Conclusions and takeaways
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