Why should high end automakers pay attention to center of gravity? Also referred to as center of mass, it
will be the area of the object where the weight or mass is concentrated.
If you consider something as simple as a Coca Cola can which has a symmetrical shape and a relatively equal
amount of mass all around, the center of gravity will be at or close to the middle of the can. If you were to throw
this can it will spin around its center similar to how a helicopter propelor or a fan blade spins.
Consider a vehicle. A vehicle is not symmetrical in shape or mass from front to rear. Most vehicles are
symmetrical left to right in shape but not in mass, espicially front wheel drive vehicles.
In light of this the center of gravity will not be in the middle or center of the vehicle.
Automakers don't study center of gravity for vehicles so they can spin perfectly if they lose control, they study
it as it applies to vehicles in order to achieve better control of the vehicle and to reduce incidents of it spinning
out of control or overturning (body roll).
The purpose of studying center of gravity is to bring it to the center of the vehicle as much as possible. Imagine
if the mass and center of gravity of a vehicle was at the front or rear of the vehicle it would be much easier to it to
spin out of control in certain driving conditions as opposed to if the mass and center of gravity was in the center of
Automakers also try to bring the lower center of gravity lower in vehicles as much as practicable. Some body styles
will have be higher than average such as SUVs some minivans
and some pick ups because practicality takes preference in these vehicles. There are ohter
vehicles where the center of gravity will be lower than average to enhance performance such as
supercars, other roadsters and coupes.
Some of the most common ways to achieve a desired center of gravity is to design the vehicle with a good weight
distribution from front to rear.
The front of vehicles with front mounted engines will be heavier in the front
so using aluminum parts for the engine will remove weight and mass from the front.
To bring the center of gravity lower aluminium can also be used for the frame and/or
body of the vehicle. Performance type vehicles may also have a carbon fiber chassis and/or
carbon fiber body panels.