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by Brett Davis

How’s this for a futuristic concept? It called the Mazda MX-0 and it was designed by the Mazda Design Team of North America. It’s also the company’s entry into the LA Design Challenge.

The theme of the design challenge is to focus on producing something that is lightweight, specifically, under 1000lb (454kg). To provide the car with lightweight foundations straight off the bat, the MX-0 uses a bonded, two-piece monocoque structure for the safety cell, subframes, panels and interior materials. All of these components are then manufactured using something called “automated composite sandwich technology”.

Another part of the car that has helped it remain light is the driveline. Usually, these components are very heavy in a normal car. Since the MX-0 is electric, Mazda used smaller, high-torque motors which still provide plenty of power to the featherweight chassis. The entire drivetrain of the MX-0 is said to weigh just 81.6kg. Compared to the already lightweight Mazda MX-5’s drivetrain weight of 285.7kg, it becomes quite evident this is very light indeed.

The suspension, like the running gear components, is also made using lightweight methods. Springs are normally coils in most decent cars – except early Porsche 911s – but in the MX-0, they are replaced by spring arms instead, and are made in a similar way to a lightweight snowboard; a tense yet flexible aluminum honeycomb core using a fibreglass skin.

Mazda’s design team says that one of the additional benefits to this design is that it can all be made and mass-produced at a relative low cost due to the absence of rare and exotic materials, usually associated with lightweight performance.




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