Environmental activists’ concern over energy consumption and greenhouse emissions in the transport industry is nothing new. According to a study commissioned by the International Aluminium Institute, entitled “Energy savings by Light-weighting”, the concern has not abated and current political targets and societal voices call for a substantial reduction in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector.
Vehicle light-weighting, in other words, the reduction of the weight of transport vehicles, has become one of the most discussed methods of reducing the energy consumption and resulting CO2 emissions caused by transport vehicles and associated upstream processes. Governments worldwide have set numerous targets to bring the consumption and emissions down, and the concept of reducing the weight of transport vehicles has gained a lot of traction. A proactive light-weighting strategy entails more than just replacing a few steel panels with lightweight material, such as aluminum. It is about using the right material for the right part. Lightweighting is becoming a whole-vehicle concept, improving not only fuel economy and emissions but also vehicle performance and safety.
There are several advantages to purchasing lightweight vehicles as opposed to their heavier, bulkier and less efficient counterparts. Below, we highlight three of these advantages:
1. Energy Efficiency
Lightweight materials are essential for boosting the fuel economy of modern cars while maintaining their safety and performance. Because it takes less energy to accelerate a lighter car than a heavier one, lightweight materials offer more potential for both automakers and auto buyers. Our research shows that when automakers reduce the weight of a vehicle by 10%, they boost the fuel economy of that vehicle by 6 to 8%, thereby putting dollars back in the pockets of fuel consumers.
Traditionally, the automotive industry has approached reducing the weights of its vehicle by downsizing, a strategy that has seen a traditional vehicle go from 3,500 pounds to 2,500 pounds over the last 20 years. Today, that strategy has reached its limits. How much space can you cut out without affecting the quality of the vehicle? The new approach to reducing the weight is to select a lighter weight material, such as aluminum, as opposed to the traditional, basic carbon steel.
2. Improved Safety
Composite materials, such as aluminum, magnesium and steel blends, have been proven to have better energy absorption than solid metals such as steel alone, and thus provide more protection upon impact. In addition, every modern car, either light or heavy, has something auto makers call “crumple zones”. These zones are designed to absorb the impact of any accident. If a vehicle is missing the zone, no matter what the weight of the metal used, the impact from the crash is transferred into the cabin.
Unsurprisingly, lighter cars perform better in poor road conditions because their weight does not force the vehicles down, impeding necessary changes of direction. The momentum created by heavier cars is thus a liability during hazardous driving. Braking distance is also a safety issue. Due to the heavier car’s extra weight, the brakes must work harder to bring the car to a stop, which is another demerit in the overall safety profile of the heavier automobile.
3. Enhanced Performance
Not only are lightweight vehicles energy efficient, but they also enhance performance. Models made from traditional steel feel heavier when driving, and they can also feel awkward when steering. Lightweight vehicles, on the other hand, are usually more maneuverable and easier to park in tight spaces. Replacing heavy vehicle components with units made from light-weight materials can reduce the weight of any vehicle from 10% to 60%.
Aluminum – the Preferred Metal for Lightweight Cars | Ford Motor Company
Aluminum is the second-most common material used by automakers. According to research conducted by the University of Aachen in Germany for the European Aluminum Association in 2011, aluminum applications can reduce vehicle weight by as much as 40% (or as much as 525 lbs.) without compromising the safety of the vehicle. In releasing these statistics, researchers are suggesting savings of 2.7 more miles per gallon or approximately 10% more in fuel economy.
Seeing how aluminum offers the safest and most environmentally-friendly way to reduce the weight of vehicles, automakers intend to double the amount of cars made from aluminum by 2025. The Ford Motor Co. recently announced that it is seeking to make the body of its popular F-150 light-duty truck from aluminum, which would reduce the truck’s weight by about 700 pounds and produce fuel savings of 10%.
Car components made of aluminum are anywhere between 10 and 40% lighter than traditional materials.
Once concern with the new light-weighting initiatives is that primary aluminum is approximately 30% more expensive than other lightweight materials used in the auto industry and many consumers are worried that this will increase the cost of vehicles.
Eccomelt has Developed an Eco-friendly Secondary A356.2 from Aluminum Wheels
As manufacturers of a secondary A356.2 substitute, we have firsthand experience with the benefits of recycled aluminum, in terms of quality, reliability, performance, and economy. Aluminum is one of the most recycled materials available, can be recycled indefinitely without compromising on quality, and is therefore one of the most desired materials by OEMs, Tier 1s and automotive companies. By using recycled aluminum in their newer, light weight vehicles, the automotive industry is enabling both the consumer and the environment to benefit.
Eccomelt356.2 is an economical recycled A356.2 substitute. At Eccomelt, we are committed to working with automakers in order to make vehicles more affordable and environmentally friendly by helping them source quality and affordable materials.
Discover Eccomelt Quality | Lightweight Foundry Alloy Substitute | Secondary A356.2
Eccomelt is a division of House of Metals Co. Ltd., founded in 1953 and has achieved recognition as being one of Canada’s best-known aluminum processors.
Alongside Alcan R&D, we have developed an eco-friendly substitute for A356.2 from aluminum wheels. Our product is the material of choice for many consumers because it is chemically pure and environmentally-friendly. Its shredded form has achieved higher melting rates than Ingot, Sow or T-Bar. Environmental testing has also proven the process eliminates all coatings.
Our customer support specialists would be delighted to speak to you about your aluminum alloy needs. For more information about our products, please visit our about us page. Alternatively, please contact us at (888) 356-9557 for more information on our Eccomelt356.2 product.