Aluminum Frames and the Automotive Industry
The Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards require that every vehicle have a fuel economy of 54.5 MPG by 2025. This is a much higher fuel economy than today’s vehicles, which rarely reach above 30 MPG. Due to these new standards, car manufactures are forced to come up with new ways to make cars lighter and more fuel efficient.
In an effort to make vehicles lighter, more car manufacturers are turning to alternative vehicle frames instead of traditional steel frames. Many vehicle manufacturers have started replacing steel frames with aluminum frames. Aluminum frames have some of the strength of steel but do not have the weight.
One problem with aluminum frames on vehicles is that aluminum can not withstand heavy impacts as well as steel. While steel can hold up to pressure and impact, aluminum often crumbles under pressure. This makes it a challenge to keep vehicles both light and safe at the same time. Vehicle manufacturers have to compensate for the lightweight of aluminum with additional safety features to keep drivers safe during harsh weather, large gusts of wind, and collisions.
The use of aluminum in vehicles is a huge benefit to the aluminum manufacturing market. The American Metal Market expects that the demand for aluminum in vehicle manufacturing will double by 2025, rising from today’s demand of 11.5 million tons to a demand of 24.8 tons per year. This may cause the price of aluminum to rise as well as the demand, making the future bright for those in the aluminum manufacturing business.
Aluminum manufacturers can take advantage of this future demand by researching and creating aluminum alloys specifically for vehicle manufacturers. This will give these manufactures an advantage over other aluminum manufacturing plants. The more car-friendly an aluminum manufacturer is, the more likely the car manufacturers will choose that business from which to purchase their metal.