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Terence Bell

Aluminum: The Future of Automobiles

By November 11, 2012

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In September, I wrote about aluminum content in the new Range Rover. A recent report published by Ducker Worldwide and the European Aluminium Association indicates that aluminum's useAluminum car door in automobiles has steadily grown over the past 20 years and that this trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

The report (available here), which examines the European auto market, shows that the average aluminum content in personal vehicles has nearly tripled since 1990, growing from 110lbs (50kgs) to roughly 310lbs (140kgs) in 2011.

Currently, the largest consuming models include the Audi A8, Jaguar XJ and Ranger Rover (all of which use over 1100lbs, or 500kgs, of aluminum).

At one-third the weight of steel, high strength aluminum reduces the overall weight of the vehicle, thereby reducing fuel consumption, as well as improving acceleration, braking and handling.

While still very few vehicles use aluminum frames, the metal is commonly used in the production of wheel rims, engine blocks, cylinder heads, transmission components, heat exchangers as well as doors, hoods and trunks.

The trend towards increasing aluminum use in automobiles is expected to continue in coming years, particularly with the development of electric vehicles, which realize cost savings by reducing the weight and drain on their batteries.

Image: A door frame produced using aluminum. Courtesy: European Aluminium Association. Aluminium in Cars: Unlocking the Light Weighting Potential.

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