Tony O'Kane | Feb 2, 2016

As part of efforts to strip kilos from its passenger cars to improve performance and fuel economy, Nissan has announced that it will take part in the UK Government-backed Lightweighting Excellence Programme.

The programme involves a number of UK-based suppliers, auto manufacturers and research bodies, with the dual aims of helping reduce the weight of cars built in the country while stimulating growth in the high-tech composites industry.

Nissan, along with Bentley, has pledged to participate in the programme to assess the viability of replacing the steel floor pan of a passenger car with a lightweight carbon composite part.

Meanwhile Bentley will examine the feasibility of using similar materials for the inner door structures of its cars.

The outcome of the experiment will determine whether Nissan adopts the technique for full-scale volume production, but in the interim the company has already embarked on efforts to shed 90kg from the X-Trail (above) and 40kg from the Qashqai - without resorting to composite materials.

The Lightweighting Excellence Programme aims to finish in 2017, but there's no indication as yet on when - or if - we can expect to see carbon composites in a Nissan production car.

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