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 Mitch Johnson

North Central Section - SAE

Welcome to the home of the North Central Section SAE chapter!

Our next scheduled meeting will be at NDSU.


 In cooperation with the NDSU SAE Student Section presents SAE Industrial Lecturer:

 Gregory E. Peterson – Lotus Engineering Inc.

Designing a Lightweight and Fuel Efficient Automobile for the 21st Century –

A Lotus Approach


WHERE: Construction Management Engineering (CME) Auditorium at NDSU (map-below).

WHEN: Thursday, March 26, 2015

SCHEDULE: 4:30-5:30 P.M. – NDSU/SAE Lab tours (meet outside CME Auditorium)

        5:30 P.M. – Meal at CME Auditorium

        6:00 P.M. – Presentation at CME Auditorium –Lab tours also available after the presentation 

MENU: Pizza, pop, and water will be provided.

COST: None.

RSVP: Please respond to info@ncs-sae.org by March 24, 2015.


Abstract Automakers are facing substantial challenges today as a result of current and pending CO2 and fuel economy regulations. Fuel economy needs to be improved by about 50% in the next decade while current safety systems remain in place or are legislated to be even more rigorous. This presentation will provide background information on the specific regulatory requirements and the technologies that engineers have available to meet these new standards. The presentation will assess the specific contributions of enabling technologies, including aerodynamics, mass reduction and tire/wheel/chassis systems. Example cases, based on Lotus public domain projects, will be cited to demonstrate the potential for contributing to improved fuel economy. The review will cover the ground up design of a new lightweight vehicle that weighs almost 40% less than the identical size steel baseline vehicle. Key systems will be reviewed in detail including the body structure, chassis/suspension, interior and closures. The structural performance of this vehicle will be presented; animated models undergoing FMVSS crash testing will be shown and compared to NHTSA test results for the baseline vehicle. The final presentation segment includes a cost assessment of the Lotus lightweight vehicle. This study, backed by data generated by an independent costing firm, shows how an holistic, total vehicle approach to light weighting can provide substantial financial offsets that can allow an ultra-light vehicle, using much more expensive materials, to be produced at near cost parity with current production automobiles. The presentation concludes with a general overview of automotive trends relative to reducing vehicle mass.

Biography Mr. Peterson is a Senior Technology Specialist for Lotus Engineering. His Lotus responsibilities include investigating private and public sector innovations, technology transfer to Lotus and program management. He has assisted Lotus Engineering in designing lightweight, cost effective solutions for the transportation industry, including body structures, chassis/suspensions, closures and interiors. He is also involved in investigating emerging technologies, including materials, forming processes and joining methodologies and creating opportunities to integrate them into mainstream production platforms. His engineering experience includes powertrain, chassis/suspension, body structure, closures, aerodynamics, thermal systems, interiors, electrical/electronics/electrical machines and materials. Mr. Peterson spent 18 years at Pontiac Engineering and CPC Advanced Vehicle Engineering including assisting in the development of GM’s only two seat mid-engine sports car and the initial engineering of the second generation model. His post GM career includes advanced composites engineering at GE Plastics, electronic control systems development, aero-thermal systems R&D and chassis and body development programs including engineering an aluminum sports car chassis as part of Chrysler’s SRT team. Mr. Peterson is a performance enthusiast who owns several vintage sports cars and raced a Formula V in SCCA competition. He holds eleven patents in multi-disciplinary fields and has been published by the Society of Automotive Engineers, IMechE, the International Appliance Technical Conference and Purdue University. He is a regular presenter at national and international engineering conferences.


Parking for meeting:

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