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The Paris Auto Show running from 4 through 19 October is presenting French Tier 1 Faurecia (Nanterre) with an opportunity to showcase its lightweighting and fuel economy-enhancing technologies for motor vehicles.Faurecia says it can offer weight reductions of up to 100 kg per vehicle within the 300-kg package of components it provides. Central to achieving this reduction is the use of composite materials including carbon fiber-based materials that can generate weight savings of 50% compared with steel

October 10, 2014

2 Min Read
Innovative seat design leads to lightweighting, roomier interior

The Paris Auto Show running from 4 through 19 October is presenting French Tier 1 Faurecia (Nanterre) with an opportunity to showcase its lightweighting and fuel economy-enhancing technologies for motor vehicles.

Faurecia says it can offer weight reductions of up to 100 kg per vehicle within the 300-kg package of components it provides. Central to achieving this reduction is the use of composite materials including carbon fiber-based materials that can generate weight savings of 50% compared with steel

Renaultprototypeseat.jpg

Lightweight optimized seat in Renault prototype is 4 kg lighter than conventional seats, thanks in part to the use of carbon fiber composites.

In terms of fuel economy, Faurecia is also working on energy-recovery solutions. In an internal combustion engine, around one third of the energy contained in the fuel is dissipated as exhaust heat. Faurecia is developing technologies that can recover part of this available thermal energy to help reduce fuel consumption up to 3%. Once captured, the energy can be used to heat the cabin or accelerate engine-warming time. Faurecia is also working with automakers on new energy-recovery technologies to turn heat into electrical (or mechanical) power that can be immediately used by the vehicle.

One example of lightweight efforts at Faurecia lines in optimized seat architecture. By reducing the front seat thickness, more room is furnished for rear passengers without compromising the safety or comfort of vehicle occupants in addition to weight saving. In the B segment, this has led to front seat structures that are 35% lighter than conventional counterparts, largely through an optimal combination of different materials including steel, non-ferrous metals such as aluminum and magnesium, and carbon-fiber composites.

Faurecia has also created a seat back that is 30% more compact by drawing on three areas of expertise: optimized seat-back structure; a semi-stiff shell with an adaptive back mounted on the seat structure to tailor comfort to each individual shape of back; and a smaller recliner.

These technologies make it possible to reduce the weight of the rear shell by 40% while providing an extra 3 cm of leg room for passengers in the rear. These innovations allow automakers either to create a roomier vehicle or to obtain an indirect weight saving of 3 kg if the length of the vehicle is reduced by 3 cm.

Combined with the 4 kg shaved off the weight of each front seat through the use of innovative materials, this means Faurecia can offer automakers weight savings of up to 11 kg, or 1.1 g of CO2 per kilometer.

The lightweight optimized seat design has been chosen by Renault for its EOLAB prototype, presented on its booth at the Paris Motor Show. Faurecia R&D teams are now exploring which materials can best reduce the weight of seats while meeting industrial requirements.

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