Winners of Altair Enlighten Award Feature Weight-saving Design Innovations

Award is dedicated to vehicle lightweighting and sustainability and honors advancements in reducing carbon footprint, mitigating water/energy consumption, and promoting material reuse/recycling.

Award is dedicated to vehicle lightweighting and sustainability and honors advancements in reducing carbon footprint, mitigating water/energy consumption, and promoting material reuse/recycling.

The Altair Enlighten Award recognizes the automotive industry’s sustainable engineering initiatives. Image courtesy of Altair.

Altair announces the winners of the 9th annual Altair Enlighten Award. Presented in partnership with the Center for Automotive Research (CAR), the award recognizes the automotive industry’s sustainable engineering initiatives, focusing on lightweighting and the use of materials, technologies and techniques to cut CO2 emissions. 

“The 2021 Enlighten Award once again shines a light on the inspiring work of automotive engineers worldwide. Now more than ever, sustainability and emissions reduction are critical challenges not just for the automotive sector, but society as a whole,” says James R. Scapa, founder, chairman, and chief executive officer, Altair.

“By enabling unprecedented convergence of simulation, data analytics, and high-performance computing, Altair is proud to continue to celebrate and power lightweighting initiatives around the globe as automotive organizations transform pioneering ideas into production-ready solutions more quickly and efficiently,” Scapa adds.

The full list of winning projects, runners-up, and honorable mentions include:

Sustainable Product—Vehicle

Winner: Ford Motor Company, 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E—The all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E emits zero CO2 while driving, and its sustainable credentials are further supported by a 100% vegan interior that eliminates the use of animal products.

Sustainable Product—Component

Winner: Magna International, 2019 RAM 1500 Active Air Deflector and Grille Shutters—Using lightweight, cost-effective and 78% recyclable plastics, the RAM 1500 Active Air Deflector and Grille Shutters reduce drag by 9% for better fuel economy. Aero products on the RAM 1500 have reduced CO2 emissions by 641.9 thousand metric tons since January of 2015.

Runner-up: SAIC GM Wuling Automobile Co., for the Wuling Victory—To help achieve lightweighting and safety goals, the Victory design features increased use of high-strength and ultra-strength steel, and hot forming process on body in white. The whole vehicle weight is reduced by 61.5 kg, enabling an improvement in fuel consumption of 0.2L/100km, according to the company.

Sustainable Process 

Winner: Faurecia, NAFILean Stiff—NAFILean Stiff is a polypropylene compound that uses 20% bio-sourced contents and is 100% recyclable. Delivering a 21% reduction in weight, it has offered a savings of 100,000 tons in CO2 emissions (assuming a 10-year lifetime at 15,000km/year for 14 million vehicles), and an additional 811 million km travelled with the same quantity of fuel, the company reports.

Runner-up: Henkel, PALLUMINA Metal Pretreatment Process—Used in the production of the 2021 Toyota Tacoma and Tundra, PALLUMINA provides sustainability advantages compared to conventional processes, including eliminating the use of heavy metal phosphates, reducing sludge generation up to 90%, and decreasing the use of water up to 50%.

Lightweighting Enabling Technology 

Winner: ArcelorMittal, FORTIFORM 980GI Next Generation Steel—Combining high ductility for complex shapes with higher levels of strength for improved safety, FORTIFORM 980GI offers potential weight savings of up to 20%.

Runner-up: JAC Group, JAC SOL A5, Fastback Sports Car—JAC Group established an integrated, simulation-driven design process for body structural design. Applying a multi-disciplinary approach that also embraced safety, noise, vibration, harshness (NVH) and durability, a reduction in whole vehicle weight of 106.3 kg was achieved.  

Honorable Mention: U.S. Steel, Body-in-White Assembly using U.S. Steel 980 XG3 Gen3 AHSS—U.S. Steel 980 XG3TM realizes weight savings of approximately 10% with potential improvement in safety performance compared to previous program body in white, according to the company.

Module Lightweighting

Winner: Stellantis, 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee Composite Tunnel Reinforcement (partners: Stellantis, BASF, L&L Products)—The Jeep Grand Cherokee Composite Tunnel Reinforcement is designed to carry a load path and achieves a 40% weight savings on the component, and a further 20% on the subsystem. 

Runner-up: Rassini Suspensiones, Lightweight Multi-Material Leaf Spring—The ‘Hybrid’ Leaf Spring uses GFRP composite materials and HP-RTM manufacturing technology which enables a 30% weight savings over the previous product generation, the company reports. 

Future of Lightweighting

Winner: American Axle & Manufacturing, Electric Drive Unit (eDU)—AAM’s eDU, integrating the electric machine, gearbox, and inverter in a compact package, demonstrates a high power-to-weight ratio.

Runner-up: Shiloh Industries, Aluminum Curvilinear Laser Welded Blank—Representing an aluminum curvilinear laser welded blank, this one-part, one-stamping solution eliminates four original parts. In a typical liftgate, for example, this results in a 16% weight reduction, the company reports.

Honorable Mention: Dura Automotive Systems, Dura Modular EV Battery Tray—A modular and scalable design that can be tailored to multiple platforms and vehicles of all types and sizes, the battery tray delivers a 10% weight savings over the surrogate design and a reduction in CO2 emissions of 3.8 tons over the program life. 

“Our mission is to deliver world-class research and analysis on key issues facing the automotive industry and their impact on society and sustainability. Lightweighting is central to the quest for greater fuel economy and electrification, which in turn is vital to the future of the whole sector,” says Carla Bailo, president and chief executive officer, CAR. 

Winners were formally announced in an awards ceremony on August 4, 2021. For more details, visit Media partners for the 2021 Altair Enlighten Award include SAE International, Automotive Engineering, and Automobil Industrie. For more information about the Enlighten Award, visit

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