Aluminum Use in new European Cars up 2.6x since 1990; Weight Reduction Yields Fuel Savings of 1 Billion Liters
15 January 2007
A new study determines that the amount of aluminum used in new European cars has risen from 50 kg in 1990 to 132 kg in 2005 and is predicted to grow by another 25 kg by 2010. In 2005 two million tonnes of aluminum components were put on European roads in new passenger cars. The achieved weight savings will lead to an annual fuel saving of 1 billion litres and will save roughly 40 million tonnes of CO2 emissions over the lifespan of the vehicles, according to the study.
The study by Knibb, Gormezano & Partners (KGP) in cooperation with the European Aluminum Association (EAA) includes data from automotive companies and suppliers, EAA member companies and past data from KGP. The study is based on the analysis of the 15 million cars produced in Europe in 2005 and investigates 20 body components, 17 chassis and suspension components and 25 powertrain components.
The study focuses on different aluminum semi-materials—castings, extrusions, forgings and sheets. In the car body the largest quantity of components made from aluminum are air conditioning systems, hoods, bumper beams and steering columns. aluminum parts in the chassis and suspension section of the cars are mainly wheels, suspension arms and steering components.
Cylinder heads, cylinder blocks, engine covers, pumps and radiators represent the majority of aluminum components in the drivetrain of new cars. Today, a growing amount of aluminum is being used in particular in closures, body structure and chassis applications.
Europe is leading the way in innovative use of aluminum in cars. As 100 kg of aluminum on a car can reduce CO2 emissions per kilometre by 9 grams, and even 10 grams if fuel production is considered, aluminum as material for lightweighting cars has a clear advantage. With the continual introduction of new technologies delivering further advantages in the design and manufacturing processes the trend to increase the amount of aluminum per car will continue. aluminum will certainly play an important role in future generations of sustainable cars.—Roland Harings, Chairman of the EAA Automotive Board
The European aluminum Association, founded in 1981, represents the European aluminum industry from alumina and primary production to semi-finished and end-use products, through to recycling. The European aluminum industry directly employs about 236,000 people.
The calculations in the study are based on the following assumptions:
Car lifespan of 200,000 km; yearly vehicle kilometers traveled 15,000 km.
0.35 liters of fuel saved per 100 km per 100 kg weight reduction.
1 kg of aluminum provides 1 kg of lightweighting.
2.835 kg of CO2 per liter of fuel, as the mean value for gasoline and diesel, including pre-combustion (i.e. CO2 generation for fuel production)
2.455 kg of CO2 per liter of fuel, as mean value for gasoline and diesel, excluding pre-combustion.
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