America has struggled with rising obesity rates for a while; now it’s a struggle for automotive engineers too.
Engineers are struggling to cut the “flab” off cars. New features from GPS & infotainment systems, to large seat recliners and increasingly more comfort features have been continuously added. They’ve also piled on the pounds. There are a number of factors that have caused this shift.
Fuel economy is now a high priority for consumers. Almost every major automaker has created hybrid models for their eco and cost friendly customers. In addition, auto engineers are facing tough new fuel economy standards in 2016. To meet both of these increasing demands, cars must slim down.
Known as “lightweighting,” the process faces several challenges. One is simple engineering. Engineers must examine every inch of a vehicle’s design. But the payoffs can be great. The new Nissan Altima is 79 pounds lighter than the outgoing sedan. It also rated at 38 miles per gallon on the highway.
Another example according to MSNBC is the new Cadillac XTS. A full foot longer than the compact Caddy CTS, the new 2013 Caddy sedan weights about 100 pounds less. Engineers used lighter, more creative engineering strategies, such as new high strength steel alloys to shave down the pounds. Porsche used aluminum and carbon fiber to lighten their new models.
The second challenge is getting U.S. consumers onboard with new lighter vehicles. In a culture where people equate size with luxury (think mega-mansions, Cadillac Escalades, celebrity mega-watt engagement rings), it can be difficult to sell new lighter models. Federal regulations are also increasingly stringent on safety standards, adding more difficulty to the “lightweighting” process.
Remaining on the cutting edge of technology also is an area of risk. For complete protection, engineers need Errors & Omissions Insurance. E&O Insurance covers the acts (or lack of action) of your employees as they work to fulfill the terms of contracts and services with other companies and customers. The Rubin Group, a New York based insurance company, specialize in creating Errors & Omissions plans for engineers to complement your existing general liability policy. Contact us today for more information.