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Aluminium in cars

The average amount of aluminium used per car produced in Europe has reached 140 kg, and aluminium castings, extrusions, forgings and sheets can be found nearly everywhere, including in car bodies, closures, chassis, suspensions and wheels.

Aluminium is the ideal light-weighting material as it allows a weight saving of up to 50% over competing materials in most applications without compromising safety.
Because the average mass of passenger cars has dramatically increased since the 1970′s and because vehicle weight directly impacts fuel consumption, light-weighting is necessary more than ever to reduce CO2 emissions per km at the exhaust pipe.

 

Download: Aluminium in Cars – Unlocking the light-weighting potential


Life Cycle comparison model for cars – NEW

The European Aluminium Association (EAA) and the International Aluminium Institute (IAI) have developed a tool to compare the impact of different lightweighting solutions in terms of their net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the full vehicle lifecycle. This model gives the user the possibility to compare a baseline car with two lightweight versions. The lightweighting can be achieved either by using different types of Aluminium solutions or by using Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS).

The model and the review report can be downloaded from here!


The superior lightweighting potential of Aluminium – NEW

It is often claimed that high-strength materials make an effective contribution to lightweight car body components. The idea behind this is that stronger materials enable the thickness of parts to be reduced without influencing the performance of the car. This is not possible for all components, however.

The “Stiffness and Crash Relevance of Car Body Components” study shows that the use of aluminium could result in significant weight savings for the typical components of a compact class car body. Based on a state-of-the art steel reference car, the maximum weight reduction potential of aluminium in car bodies is approximately 40%. Weight reduction potential using high strength steel was limited to a reduction of only 11%.

The new leaflet summarising the study can be downloaded here!


 

Aluminium Automotive Manual

The Aluminium Automotive Manual aims at providing technical information on aluminium automotive applications. The information is compiled into PDF documents which are classified into six major categories: applications, design, materials, products, manufacturing technologies and joining techniques.

The current version of the manual contains information developed within the 1st edition which was published in 2002 as well as updated documents developed in 2011 and 2013. The updating work focused mainly on the categories design and applications. The latter has been completely revised with the latest Car Body applications: body structures, hang-on parts, crash management systems, and many other innovative lightweight solutions.

The NEW LEAFLET describing the manual can be found here!

The UPDATED MANUAL can be found here!


Aluminium penetration in cars

A study published by Ducker Worldwide in cooperation with the European Aluminium Association (EAA) shows that the amount of aluminium used per car produced in Europe almost tripled between 1990 and 2012, increasing from 50kg to 140 kg. This amount is predicted to rise to 160 kg by 2020, and even reach as much as 180 kg if small and medium cars follow the evolution recorded in the upper segments of the automobile industry.

Furthermore, the weight savings achieved thanks to the aluminium content will lead to an average annual fuel saving of 65 litres per car, and will in total save roughly 43 million tonnes of CO2 emissions over the lifespan of the 17 million cars that will be produced in 2012.

The study can be downladed here!

A summary of the study can be downloaded here!


Aluminium intensive Electric Vehicle

Electric vehicles are today rather expensive, mainly because of the cost of batteries. It is therefore important to make electric cars as energy efficient as possible in order to minimize the required battery capacity. Lightweighting is one of the most obvious ways of improving the energy efficiency of any vehicle, including electric ones. In a study co-funded by the European Aluminium Association (EAA) and the International Aluminium Institute (IAI), Forschungsgesellschaft Kraftfahrwesen mbH Aachen (fka) has shown that an electric car of the VW Golf class can be made 187 kg lighter using aluminium instead of steel. The additional cost of building the car in aluminium is more than offset by the cost savings that can be made on the battery pack, since a lighter car needs less battery power to drive the same distance. The total cost of the aluminium electric vehicle is 635 € lower than that of the steel electric vehicle.

The study can be downloaded here!

A leaflet summarising the results can be downloaded here!

To see the effect of different input parameters, a calculation tool can be found here!


Optimised aluminium vehicle front section

The front section of a C-class vehicle have been analysed by the Institut für Kraftfahrwesen Aachen (ika). The aim was to develop and numerically analyse two concepts for an aluminium front section. The conservative aluminium concept is developed considering the exact design space limitations of a steel reference vehicle. For the progressive aluminium concept the design space is expanded, as far as possible with respect to the major package components of the reference vehicle, in order to achieve more design freedom and enable innovative ideas. Both aluminium concepts shall offer at least the same structural performance as the reference structure. Under this constraint a high level of weight reduction is intended. The results show that a weight reduction of 35 – 41% compared to a steel reference model could be achieved.

The report can be downloaded here!