Within the context of the U.S. government’s recent announcement on fuel economy standards for 2017 to 2025 model year vehicles, automakers are looking to next generation hybrids, plug-in electrics and even fuel cells. When looking at these next generation vehicles, weight reduction technology cannot be overlooked. Complementing vehicle advances, lightweighting produces vehicles that are more efficient, achieve better fuel economy and produce fewer emissions. Proven in strength and safety, aluminum offers automakers the key to vehicle weight reduction. Research findings pertaining to the impact of weight reduction through lightweight materials on plug-in electric and hybrid vehicle performance, show that opting for aluminum bodies over steel can save on battery needs and the associated higher costs, since lighter vehicles require less battery power (batteries being a significant cost barrier). Greater use of aluminum can help speed the transition to greener and cleaner vehicles.
Areas of focus
Not all cars will or should be made of aluminum (though some are, and more will be); however, it is clear that aluminum components will continue to provide vehicles that are safe for consumers and the environment