Vehicle lightweighting energy use impacts in U.S. light-duty vehicle fleet

Sujit Das*, Diane Graziano, Venkata K.K. Upadhyayula, Eric Masanet, Matthew Riddle, Joe Cresko

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


In this article, we estimate the potential energy benefits of lightweighting the light-duty vehicle fleet from both vehicle manufacturing and use perspectives using plausible lightweight vehicle designs involving several alternative lightweight materials, low- and high-end estimates of vehicle manufacturing energy, conventional and alternative powertrains, and two different market penetration scenarios for alternative powertrain light-duty vehicles at the fleet level. Cumulative life cycle energy savings (through 2050) across the nine material scenarios based on the conventional powertrain in the U.S. vehicle fleet range from -. 29 to 94 billion GJ, with the greatest savings achieved by multi-material vehicles that select different lightweight materials to meet specific design purposes. Lightweighting alternative-powertrain vehicles could produce significant energy savings in the U.S. vehicle fleet, although their improved powertrain efficiencies lessen the energy savings opportunities for lightweighting. A maximum level of cumulative energy savings of lightweighting the U.S. light-duty vehicle through 2050 is estimated to be 66.1billion GJ under the conventional-vehicle dominated business-as-usual penetration scenario.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-13
Number of pages9
JournalSustainable Materials and Technologies
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • Alternative Vehicle Powertrain
  • Life Cycle Energy
  • Lightweight Materials
  • Vehicle Fleet Energy
  • Vehicle Lightweighting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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