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Christopher Bruce2012-06-14 20:31:05

Aluminum Demand for Cars Set to Double by 2025

Audi has extensively used aluminum in its cars, and it is trickling down to its other cars

According to aluminum producer Alcoa's director of automotive marketing Randall Scheps, he sees the demand for aluminum for cars doubling over the next decade. 

Scheps told attendees at the American Metal Market's Aluminum Summit in New York that BMWBMWBMWGermany, 1918 > present87 models
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and AudiAudiAudiGermany, 1909 > present83 models
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are already preparing for stiffer fuel economy standards in the US by planning to use even more aluminum in their cars to lower weight. 

"We have every car maker calling us, wanting to increase their aluminum content, wanting to start new R&D projects about how they can convert bodies from steel to aluminum, wanting to convert hoods and doors from steel to aluminum. It's an unprecedented time in the aluminum industry, and car bodies are the next frontier," said Scheps. 

One of the best ways to improve fuel economy and performance is to reduce weight. Even in the 60s, automakers would make lightweight versions of their cars using aluminum components. Today it is becoming even more normal for cars to extensive aluminum to save weight. 

According to Scheps, the current use of aluminum in the auto industry is around 11.5 million tons in 2011. He expects the amount to increase to 24.8 million tons in 2012. He expects the amoung of aluminum to be used per vehicle to grow from 343 pounds today to 550 pounds in the future. 

Alcoa is coping with the increased demand by expanding its factories to produce more aluminum. 

He does not predict composite materials like plastics or carbon fiber taking over because they are still too hard to use. 

"They are not compatible with the existing manufacturing infrastructure, too expensive, not recyclable, do not perform well in a crash and the manufacturing cycle time is too long," said Scheps. 

Source: Automotive News

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