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New coalition to advance integration of mixed materials for automotive down-weighting

The Center for Automotive Research announced the launch of the Coalition of Automotive Lightweighting Materials (CALM) to support efforts by auto manufacturers to aggressively down-weight vehicles to improve performance, fuel economy and safety. CALM will coalesce the strengths and knowledge of the aluminum and plastics/composites industries with technology providers in design, fabrication and joining to accelerate the implementation of mixed-material solutions that will reduce vehicle mass.

Integrating advanced low-weight materials can present challenges with the design, joining, and structural validation. CALM’s purpose is to support the cost-effective integration of mixed materials to achieve significant reductions in weight through the collaborative efforts of technology providers with the auto manufacturers.

By working collaboratively with automakers, CALM aims to overcome these challenges through pre-competitive efforts that will accelerate the adoption of down-weighting technologies and the overall benefits they offer automakers and ultimately consumers.

The aluminum and plastics/composites industries are developing advanced materials to help auto makers design lighter and safer cars. Leading technology companies are also developing weight-saving solutions that include these materials along with steel for new applications. By working together we can accelerate the application of these progressive materials and solutions.

One of the first tasks for CALM will be to meet with the engineering groups at the automakers to understand their mass reduction strategies and challenges so the supplier industries can develop and apply their technology solutions with each auto company.

—Dr. Jay Baron, CAR’s President, and the Director of CALM

CALM is intended to be industry-led with CAR as the project manager. CALM is supported by The Aluminum Association’s Aluminum Transportation Group and the American Chemistry Council, which combined, represent a membership of more than 200 companies. A representative from each association will serve on CALM’s steering committee with Baron.

In addition to the material associations, individual materials and technology organizations have joined CAR in support of CALM including 3M, Altair, BASF, EWI, Material Sciences Corporation, Plastic Omnium, PPG, Shiloh Industries and Trexel. Additional organizations are expected to add their support in the weeks ahead.

CALM objectives for 2012 include:

  • Collaboration with Vehma. CAR will provide an engineer to work with Vehma in designing for mass reduction in support of the proposed US Department of Energy study. (Earlier post.) CAR will seek to identify opportunities to bring to the CALM group. The Vehma case will also provide information for the material selection methodology study.

  • Hold approximately six regular meetings with CALM participants, hosted by CAR. Some meetings may be update meetings and held via conference call. Agenda topics will include updates on lightweighting studies, policy actions involving lightweighting, and business opportunities for CALM organizations. The agenda will be reviewed with the advisory board prior to each meeting and minutes will be prepared and distributed following each meeting.

  • Several meetings (at least 3) will be scheduled with auto manufacturers and/or Tier-1 suppliers related to lightweighting strategies and opportunities. The purpose of these meetings will be to build a knowledge base for mass reduction decisions and strategies while fostering better communications with the material industries. The agenda will be directed by the host company and reviewed with the advisory board prior to meeting. Meeting minutes with summary of company mass reduction priorities will be distributed as a follow up.

  • Development of a general mass reduction decision methodology with input from automotive designers and the CALM group. The methodology is intended to broadly cover constraints that may include, for example: technology availability, reliability risk, supply chain, industry transformation costs (infrastructure), carryover technology, etc. Case study examples from industry will be sought from the auto manufacturers. A literature review will be conducted. A report describing the methodology will be produced. This document may be an ongoing working document as additional data is collected from automotive companies.

  • CALM organizations will provide input as to perceived barriers to technology implementation. CAR will survey auto manufacturers on their perceived barriers, and how to overcome them. An assessment and/or critique of mass reduction studies may be made. Presentations and/or papers will be delivered with input provided by CALM participants.

  • Special projects of interest may be developed and proposed by the advisory group ad hoc in support of the CALM mission. Deliverables will be determined as agreed upon.

  • CAR will provide support to promote the advancement of lightweighting technologies, and build awareness with industry stakeholders and policymakers of the challenges and costs associated with mass reduction. This may result in publications, meetings, presentations, seminars and/or technical fairs that involve CALM organizations.



This group should support a valuable objective to reduce weight of private ICE and Electrified passenger vehicles, with about 110 cu. ft cabin space and 15 cu.ft luggage space, to 2000 lbs or less, by 2020 or shortly thereafter.


Lightweighting, down-weight?

What happened to the English language?


"Newspeak" happened - like from George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four?


Current fuel efficiency:

1. Mitsubishi EV = 112 MPGe
2. Nissan Leaf EV = 99 MPGe
3. Toyota Prius PHEV = 95 MPGe
4. GM Volt PHEV = 60 MPGe

The Volt is too heavy and is a poor performer?

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