As automakers feel the pressure to cut down on vehicle weight to squeeze out more miles per gallon, a more expensive material is gaining in popularity at a rate that is surprising some.
Over the next decade, according to a recent study, the adoption of high-strength and low-weight aluminum hit an all-time high for new car and truck construction. In 2015, total aluminum content sat at 397 pounds per vehicle (PPV). By 2028, that number is expected to hit 565 PPV which would make up about 16 per cent of total vehicle weight.
The Aluminum Content in North American Light Vehicles 2016 To 2028 study said that choosing aluminum for doors, hoods, bumpers, crash boxes and more will continue to be an emerging trend.
“Aluminum remains the fastest growing automotive material over competing materials and is entering its most unprecedented growth phase since we’ve been tracking the shifting mix of automotive materials,” said Abey Abraham of Ducker Worldwide, a research and consulting firm that conducted the survey on behalf of the Aluminum Association’s Aluminum Transportation Group.
“To further improve fuel economy, battery range, safety and overall driving performance, automakers no longer default to a single material and instead are pursuing a multi-material design approach where the best material is chosen for the best application. This design evolution is what’s driving aluminum’s increased market penetration in the auto sector.”
As automakers and suppliers move towards a multi-materials approach, that means continued growth for the aluminum market, a segment that has seen uninterrupted growth for 40 years, said Heidi Brock, president and CEO of the Aluminum Association. The shift to aluminum means there are more efficient and sustainable cars to choose from, she added.