Melbourne, Aug 12 : With regularly occurring traffic jams and sky rocketing fuel prices, bigger and heavier cars are becoming a living nightmare. Now, CSIRO scientists are working on building cars, which are lighter, safer and cheaper to run.
They are working on lightweight alloy parts, which can cut 400kg to 500kg off the weight of cars, thus making them economical.
With the help of aluminium and magnesium alloys, about 27 per cent of weight can be decreased from the average family car, which normally weighs around 1250kg.
CSIRO spokesman Sam Tartaglia said considerable savings could be made on the costs of fuel as well as CO2 greenhouse gas emissions, simply by driving lighter, safer vehicles.
"An example is that BMW uses a magnesium block and they took 10kg off the weight of the engine alone," News.com.au quoted Tartaglia, as saying.
"It's obviously a major gain and also lowered the car's centre of gravity by 25mm so it improved handling," he added.
With climate change posing a formidable challenge a number of car manufacturers are planning to develop lightweight, low-fuel consumption cars. US and Australian carmakers are already looking at the products suggested by CSIRO.
Barrie Finnin, former general manager for alloy technologies with CSIRO materials science and engineering, said the magnesium and aluminium alloys created car parts that were cost-competitive with conventional components.
"Lighter cars use less fuel because they need less energy to start and stop than heavier cars," said Finnin.