Volkswagen Group of America becomes the first automotive OEM to join LIFT (Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow), the Detroit-based public-private partnership researching lightweighting solutions for automotive, aerospace and military applications.
The institute and its not-for-profit, public-private technology incubator, LIFT – Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow – study lightweighting solutions for everything from aerospace to military applications.
But a majority of LIFT’s focus is on projects aimed at cutting pounds from automobiles through pilot-scale testing of innovative methods for joining materials, making thin-wall castings, welding dissimilar metals and extruding aluminium.
The work at LIFT is key to helping the German carmaker meet its ambitious plan to introduce 50 battery-electric vehicles and 30 plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles across its 12 global brands between 2019 and 2025.
“Lightweighting is critical for the future of our vehicles, not only to improve on fuel economy, but also to help improve vehicle performance,” said Hagen Seifert, head of materials at VW Group’s Audi brand. “The innovative research being done and the network of industry and academic experts available at LIFT were keys drivers in our decision to join.”
Specifically, the VW Group is interested in researching how internal components can be made lighter while improving performance and power for the vehicle while reducing manufacturing costs.
“Bringing an automotive OEM into membership alongside our present auto supplier and industry OEM members creates an enhanced robust ecosystem, allowing participants from across industries to work together and learn from each other,” said Lawrence Brown, executive director-LIFT (pictured).