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Overview


to today’s vehicles which have about 10% of their curb weight made up of aluminum, 16% of the weight of vehicles will be made up of aluminum. “Our findings indicate that


by 2025 26% of all the body and closure parts [hoods, doors, tailgates, etc.] for light vehicles in North America will be made of aluminum,” said Richman. Looked at another way, the


use of aluminum in the average light vehicle produced in North America grew by 7 lb (3.15 kg) a year from 1975 to 2013. It will grow by 14 lb (6.4 kg) per year every year from 2014 through 2025. In most cases these alumi- num alloys will substitute for steel components of a greater weight. And aluminum is not alone


in throwing down the gaunt- let. Steel also faces a challenge from composites.


The first Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell crossovers to be imported to the US roll off a freighter in California.


components, wheels and suspension parts, aluminum is about to substitute for steel in some mass-market automotive bodies. Te 2015 model of the Ford F-150—the top-selling vehicle in North America—is kicking off this change by using an aluminum alloy body atop a high-strength steel frame. Tis pickup is the first high-volume vehicle to be produced with an aluminum body, said Doug Richman, chairman of the techni- cal committee of the Aluminum Association Transportation Group and Kaiser Aluminum’s vice president of engineering and technology.


Weight Savings of up to 700 Pounds Te fuel efficiency benefit of the shiſt to an aluminum


body, according to Doug Scott, Ford Truck Group marketing manager, is that it is “going to take up to 700 lb [315 kg] of weight out of the vehicle.” According to Ducker Worldwide in the 2015 North Ameri-


can Light Vehicle Aluminum Content Study conducted for the Aluminum Association, per vehicle usage of aluminum grew from 75 lb (34 kg) in 1975 to 350 lb (158 kg) in 2012 and is forecasted to reach 547 lb (248 kg) in 2025. Compared


12 Motorized Vehicle Manufacturing


Composites on the Way Until 2014 carbon-based


composites had been used al- most exclusively for the hoods


of the Dodge Viper and the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray as well as certain body panels for high-performance vehicles such as select BMW models. In 2014 BMW introduced the i3, an electric compact car with its body—or Life module, as BMW calls it—made of carbon fiber reinforced compos- ite. Te Life module is bonded to an aluminum frame that contains the vehicle’s batteries. A front subframe contains the front suspension while a rear subframe holds both the rear suspension and the i3’s powertrain. While the innovative BMW is the most composite-inten-


sive passenger vehicle to be made available for purchase, its sales volumes are likely to be quite small given the time it takes to cure composites and the costs of the high-tech mate- rial (for more details, visit http://tinyurl.com/hifiber). Still, it is a pioneering step that could lead to success such as aluminum is enjoying. Te big hurdle for composites to clear, according to Rani


Richardson, CATIA Composites Product Specialist at Dassault Systèmes, is lack of experience. Richardson has a wealth of ex- perience working with composites in both the aerospace and the automotive industries, and said she agrees with a poll in


Photo courtesy Hyundai Motor America


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