2018 Chevrolet Equinox Sheds Off Extra Kilos; Gets Safer
SUVs are supposed to be big, large and more capable than the sedans. They have to play different roles to satisfy the needs of a customer. Sometimes it’s a family vehicle, while later it’s going off-roading. Whatever the case may be, there’s no denying that SUVs weigh quite a lot; which works against all the positives of the vehicle. To tackle this, engineers at Chevrolet have successfully reduced the weight of the 2018 Equinox.
There are a plethora of advantages of having less weight – agility, better fuel efficiency, improved performance, comfortable ride, and so on. The 2018 Equinox will now have all these benefits courtesy of its all-new, lighter body structure, which was designed and optimized for top safety ratings.
Chevrolet decided to work on the Equinox and to remove extra weight from it to make it a much more capable SUV. Engineers focussed on the below three areas to make this happen:
Intelligent design: This was achieved through multidisciplinary optimization and computer-aided engineering (CAE).
Use of lighter materials: The engineers strategically employed advanced materials, like ultra-high strength steel and aluminium.
Innovative manufacturing techniques: Implementing a mix of clever manufacturing and joining techniques, including metal inert gas welding, laser brazing or structural adhesives was part of the process.
“The Equinox uses several types of premium high-strength steels that offer both protection and
rigidity. The weight reduction comes mostly from the use of thinner-gauge high-strength steels combined with optimization of the geometry (or topology) of the structure, which brings fuel economy benefits and makes the vehicle more nimble,” said Albert Chou, GM Body Vehicle System Engineer.
The new design of the new body reduced the mass of the vehicle by 10%. The 2018 Equinox is a healthy 180kg lighter than the previous model. With the achievement of this weight reduction, other aspects that improved include:
The strategic placement of high-strength and ultra-high strength steel in the body structure is the foundation of a robust “safety cage” surrounding passengers. It is complemented by the Equinox’s restraint systems and other standard and available safety features to manage energy in the event of a crash and help protect occupants.
Handling and ride quality:
The more stable an SUV is on the move, the safer it is. With their inherently high centre of gravity, SUVs are generally more prone to body roll in sudden directional changes – not the Chevrolet Equinox. The stronger body structure greatly reduces the need to account for chassis flex in the tuning of the suspension system. This allowed engineers to focus more on ride comfort and fine-tune ride and handling attributes with greater precision. It also supported hard-mounting the front and rear suspension cradles at six points apiece on the body, further enhancing nimbleness and responsiveness and making it relatively safer in high-speed avoidance manoeuvres.
The new stiff body structure is better at preventing noise and vibrations, for a quieter and smoother ride. By helping to block noise and vibration paths, fewer sound-absorbing and other dissipative materials were required, contributing to the Equinox’s overall weight loss.
Lower weight improves fuel economy. The Equinox delivers combined fuel economy of 15 km/l for the standard 1.5L turbocharged engine with front-wheel drive in the LS and LT versions and 13.6 km/l for the 2.0L turbocharged engine in the full-spec Premier model.
Ahmed Soudodi, Head of Brand of Chevrolet Middle East, says, “The lighter and stronger body is not only designed to deliver exceptional occupant protection, it also aids efficient performance in terms of reduced fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions. This weight optimization delivers a greener drive experience and uncompromised safety, with a lower cost of ownership.”