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2011 aachenstudy

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  • 1. Auto Aluminum Offers Greater WeightReduction Potential Than Steel“Aluminum can safely Aluminum use in the automotive sector has increased steadily for the past fourcut vehicle weight without decades and this study makes clear the environmental and safety advantagesreducing vehicle size.” of the high-strength, low-weight material have yet to be fully realized. The study,Randall Scheps conducted by the Institut für Kraftfahrzeuge at the University of Aachen for theChairman, Aluminum Transportation Group European Aluminium Association, analyzed the stiffness and strength relevance of 26 automotive components to assess the further potential or limits of weight reduction for both steel and aluminum. The findings provide evidence that there are many more opportunities for the use of aluminum compared to steel to further reduce vehicle weight. And, reducing vehicle weight is key to cutting carbon emissions and improving fuel economy. This study demonstrates that it can be done using aluminum while maintaining – if not further improving – vehicle safety. Key findings from the studyKEY TAKEAWAYSff Aluminum can reduce ff In key automotive components aluminum can reduce vehicle weight safely by vehicle weight by 40 as much as 40 percent, compared to only 11 percent for high-strength steel. percent, compared to only 11 percent for ff The reason the potential weight reduction using high-strength steel is so high-strength steel small, is that nearly 40 percent of the parts analyzed simply cannot be made thinner regardless of the grade of steel used. If high-strength steel were to beff Nearly 10 percent further used to downweight these parts, their stiffness would actually be reduced and improvement in fuel economy or an additional the car’s performance would suffer, whereas, aluminum could be used without 2.7 MPG is possible over reducing stiffness or causing the car’s performance to suffer. a typical auto today ff The potential for automotive aluminum downweighting varies and optionsff Reducing vehicle weight include maintaining a steel body with aluminum closures, hang-on and is key to cutting carbon mounting parts, hybrid or multi-material designs for the body and full emissions and improving aluminum body. fuel economy, while maintaining safety www.AluminumInTransportation.org
  • 2. Based on the Aachen study and other data on the benefits of aluminum, the Aluminum Association’s Aluminum Transportation Group was able to make calculations related to lifecycle CO2 emissions and fuel economy improvements. ff There is potential for approximately 525 pounds of additional weight savings based on the study’s analysis (40 percent). ff Nearly 10 percent further improvement in fuel economy or an additional 2.7 MPG is possible over a typical auto today. ff This weight reduction could create life cycle CO2 emissions savings of 3,600 kg (Note: This includes the full lifecycle net of material production impact, which assumes 23 percent secondary weight savings).figure 1: Weight Savings Translate to Fuel Economy Improvement 400 3 350 2.5 2.7 MPG 300 Fuel Economy Improvement ImprovementMass Of Body-in-White 2 MILES PER GALLON 250 KILOGRAMS 200 1.5 150 1 100 0.5 50 0 0 Steel (baseline) High Strength Aluminum Steel (baseline - High Strength Aluminum Steel Intensive Intensive 30 mpg) Steel Intensive Intensive Source: ika - University of Aachen and the European Aluminium Association (EAA) Source: Aluminum Association calculated based on ika mass reduction data; assumes 23% secondary weight savings www.AluminumInTransportation.org

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