• Creating a mass production car that is 30% lighter than average.
  • Potential savings of millions of tonnes of fuel and CO2 emission reduction.
  • 4-year collaborative programme with leading manufacturers, part-funded by the European Commission.

Arup’s experience in vehicle body development and the challenges of delivering sustainable solutions ensured that the firm played a key design role in the consortium tasked with designing the SuperLIGHT-CAR.

The project’s ambitious objective was to develop technologies and concepts resulting in a 30% reduction in the body weight of a medium-sized car of the future.

Arup’s role was to ensure that key performance criteria – body stiffness, crashworthiness, fatigue and buildability – could be achieved within the constraints of mass reduction and cost.

Multi-material philosophy

The single-material approach to traditional car body design does not necessarily offer the best solution for weight minimisation. The project therefore focused on a multi-material solution that would utilise the strengths and weaknesses of different materials.

By overcoming the challenges associated with joining materials and predicting the behaviour of the connections between them, Arup contributed to a car designed and built using a combination of steel, aluminium, magnesium and fibre-reinforced plastic.

Europe-wide collaboration

Co-funded by the European Commission, the project brought Arup into partnership with leading European car makers. Volkswagen, Fiat, Opel, Renault, Volvo, Porsche and DaimlerChrysler worked together with Arup to bring lightweight automotive technologies closer to high-volume car production.


  • SuperLIGHT-CAR, materials in use.Open gallery

    The multi-material solution utilises the strengths of each substance and enables significant weight reduction.