Finite element analysis was used extensively from the outset of the program and continued through production of the redesigned 1978 GM intermediate cars. Three basic types of models were employed: complete vehicle, system, and component models. Plastic models in 3/8 scale were used extensively in conjunction with the finite element analyses to assure efficient structural design. Several techniques wre used for guidance as to engine size of the 1978 GM intermediates. Fuel economy was the primary goal; however, the powertrain engineers recognized from the outset that acceleration and performance were critical considerations too. GM also placed much emphasis on reducing aerodynamic drag of its new intermediate vehicles. In seeking energy-balanced designs, it can often be shown that there is a net long-term energy saving in cases where the proposed new material is more energy-intensive to manufacture, or has petroleum stocks as part of its composition. The combined effect of all these improvements was an average weight reduction of nearly 300 kg per car, or at least one inertia weight class compared to 1977 models. Fuel economy increase averaged 2.6 mpg (EPA composite), or 15% improvement over the 1977 intermediates.

Media Info

  • Pagination: p. 64-66
  • Serial:
    • Automotive Engineering
    • Volume: 86
    • Issue Number: 7
    • Publisher: Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)
    • ISSN: 0098-2571

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00183252
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Engineering Index
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 12 1978 12:00AM