Application of Aluminum in vehicles is expected to rise above forty – two percent in the next decade. Also the rate of growth is expected to be slower than that from the previous forecasts. Aluminum is finding increased usage in the auto industry since it is a lighter substitute for steel. Amidst tighter emission standards it is heavily used in cars to shave weight.
The heavy sheet metal is now being replaced by aluminum or some patchwork of materials. For instance in the Ford Motor Co.’s F-150 uses Aluminum.
Studies show that aA vehicle sold today, on an average, would weigh around four thousand pounds. This would be made up of plastic, steel, rubber, upholstery, aluminum and other materials. Efforts have been made by engineers to reduce the weight of various components such as body panels, engines, brackets, wind shields by using substitutes. These substitutes are chosen such that the miles per gallon improve.
In 2014, Ford shifted from steel sheet metal to Aluminum for the body panels of the F-150. Thus a meaty portion of the vehicle’s structure was replaced by steel reducing the weight by an amount that does not go unnoticed. This was seen as a tipping point for Aluminum since the values of sales and production was pretty high for Ford as far as trucks were considered.
Of recent another trend which has surfaced is the use of an amalgamation comprising magnesium and carbon fiber. This helps to reduce the weight of the vehicle. The steel makers have also started rolling out stronger but thinner sheets of steel with a view to increase their demand in the market.
The Trump administration plans to soften the fuel economy regulations. This would slow the so – called ‘light weighting efforts’ as urgency fades. The Ford F-150 reduced its weight by seven hundred pounds and Dick Shultz, an author, says that we might not encounter anything as aluminum intensive as that. This reduction in weight comes with a price and for Ford it added $1,000 to the cost of every vehicle.