GRAND RAPIDS (WWJ) — Lacks Wheel Trim Systems LLC, a business unit of Grand Rapids-based Lacks Enterprises Inc., announced that its eVOLVE hybrid wheel demonstrated significant fuel economy improvements during recent tests on cars, light-duty trucks and SUVs.

The latest independent tests validate last year’s Los Angeles Auto Show announcement of a 1.1-mpg highway fuel economy improvement for the Ford Focus hatchback using the original eVOLVE design.

Lacks will show a new composite wheel, codenamed EV4, during press days of the Los Angeles Auto Show.

This year Lacks re-validated the 2012 eVOLVE wheel results on a 2013 Ford Focus SE sedan by testing six different wheel designs and wheel weights, including the EV4. Both the original eVOLVE design and the EV4 composite wheels provided the best for overall fuel economy.

In addition to the Focus and four other small cars, tests with eVOLVE wheels were conducted for the first time on light-duty trucks and SUVs, resulting in a 0.76 mpg improvementi over standard production wheels. This translates into a 4.1 percent fuel economy improvement under U.S. corporate average fuel economy standards.

“The Lacks eVOLVE wheel provides a significant fuel economy benefit thanks to its lightweight design and improved aerodynamics while enabling design capability for automakers,” said James Ardern, Lacks director of business eevelopment. “We are excited to be in development with most of our OEM customers.”

Lacks says the eVOLVE wheel provides automakers with quality metal finishes, increased design flexibility and a premium, durable construction using Lacks’ patented composite wheel manufacturing technologies. Lacks also is working with expert partners, such as Indianapolis-based Auto Research Center, on additional advancements and integrated aerodynamic enhancements to provide automakers and motorists with significant fuel economy improvements vs. standard production wheels.

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