Volkswagen lightweight: the slimmed-down Golf 7 is angular and sporty


The slimmed-down Golf 7 is angular and sporty

Volkswagen lightweight: the slimmed-down Golf 7 is angular and sporty-lightweight

The seventh of its kind: The new Golf has not yet been presented, but production has already started. Up to 60 different golf models can be used in Wolfsburg per hour to be produced.

Source: Volkswagen

More comfort and more safety – and a new design: the new Golf will be presented on September 4th. But the VW engineers are already revealing what the new Golf generation has to offer.

D.he Weight Watchers at VW did a great job. The Golf 7, which will be unveiled in Berlin on September 4th, weighs 1150 kilograms, 13 kilograms less than the fourth generation that left the assembly line after 1997. At the same time, it offers "more comfort and more security than its predecessor," promises VW head of development Ulrich Hackenberg. With technical highlights, Hackenberg and the VW engineers want to make it clear: "The Golf VII should make a big leap."

When losing 100 kilograms of total vehicle weight, the engineers have prescribed a diet in all areas. With success: the electrics are three kilograms lighter, optional equipment has been slimmed down by 12 kilograms, the units accounted for 22 kilograms, the chassis 26 kilograms and the body a total of 37 kilograms.

Most of the savings were made on the body

100 kilos less with the new Golf 1.4 TSI with 140 PS means: Although it has 20 PS less than its predecessor, according to VW, the mileage has remained the same. The consumption of the gasoline engine with cylinder deactivation has fallen from 6.3 to 4.8 liters per 100 kilometers (146 grams to 112 CO2 / km). The 1.6 TDI entry-level diesel with 105 hp, with 3.8 liters per 100 kilometers (99 g CO2 / km), clearly undercuts the 4.5 liters per 100 kilometers achieved in the EU standard cycle of its predecessor with the same engine.

The biggest pound that was melted off was in the body. Compared to the Golf VI, the latest production technology and ultra-high-strength and hot-formed components have reduced their weight by 8.6 percent to 245 kilograms.

Markus Kleimann, Head of Body Development, summed up what the fasting cure also brought to the engineers: “No other car manufacturer in the world has built up as much know-how in the hot forming of ultra-high-strength steels as Volkswagen. We save material and weight with new solutions and patents. ”This includes, for example, the production of components from ultra-high-strength, hot-formed steel.

Hot formed steels and cow stains

According to Kleimann, the proportion of these components has increased from six percent in the old to 28 percent in the new Golf – the hot-formed components are more than six times stronger than those made from conventional deep-drawn steel and four times as high as those made from conventional high-strength steels. In addition, there is a further nine percent brand-new ultra-high-strength steels in the body, so that the body-in-white, which weighs 245 kilograms, consists of a total of 80 percent (Golf VI: 66 percent) high-strength and ultra-high-strength steels. This means that the body-in-white of the Golf VII is 22 kilograms lighter than the previously lightest in the compact class, that of the BMW 1 Series.

“We also save weight with cow stains,” says Kleinman. This is what the computer-generated sheet metal depressions are called internally, and they resemble the color stain pattern of the cowhide. In the case of flat components, the virtual development methods led to different shapes that, pressed into the front wall and floor panels, increase the rigidity of the construction. In the case of the floor panels, they also act as insulation that reduces interior noise. According to VW information, the “cow stain method” contributed to a weight reduction of seven kilograms.

Sweeping during welding saves energy

When welding the parts into a body-in-white, VW relies on the "wobble technology". A novelty in the entire industry. Wobbel seams are welded using robot technology. Wobbling (German to pendulum) drastically reduces the number of resistance welding points on the body-in-white and, according to Martin Goede, Head of VW Technology Planning, uses 20 percent less energy than spot welding. In addition, the connection becomes up to 40 percent stronger. The flanges required for welding can be made much smaller, which in turn leads to weight reduction.

This becomes visible when the B-pillar component made of ultra-high-strength, hot-formed steel is welded to the cross member of the body. The B-pillar component no longer encompasses the crossmember, but has a short overlap for setting the wobble seams. Instead of 26 welding points, there are nine wobble seams.

60 golf per hour possible

Hot forming from VW is cutting-edge technology. It works with two systems positioned next to each other, each consisting of four gas ovens, a total of 23 meters long. In them, the sheet metal blanks of the component are heated from room temperature to 930 degrees Celsius. Robots place the red-hot sheet steel in the press. With a force of 12,000 kilonewtons, which corresponds to a water column 12 kilometers high, the component is pressed into shape within 5.5 seconds and cooled with water to 180 degrees Celsius.

The production is robot-controlled and precise. The dimensional accuracy is a tenth of a millimeter. With the new technologies, bodies for four variants can be produced in parallel in Wolfsburg, one body every minute – that is, 60 Golf VIIs per hour. The slim Golf can be seen for the first time on September 4th in Berlin.

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