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Ducker survey of automakers suggests aluminum content surge in EV market; SUVs & pickups to constitute 85% of the BEV market by 2030

A new survey of automakers and Tier 1 suppliers conducted by Ducker Carlisle concludes that as electric vehicles continue to enter the mass market, aluminum demand will grow through the end of the decade. The report—“2023 North American Light Vehicle Aluminum Content and Outlook”—released by the Aluminum Association indicates that demand for more sustainable transportation will help drive an increase in market share for aluminum content by nearly 100 net pounds per vehicle (PPV) from 2020 to 2030.


The aluminum industry is committed to ensuring consumers experience the performance and environmental benefits of aluminum as more and more vehicles are designed with the metal in the years ahead. Greater collaboration with automakers will bring to life this vision, set forth by the aluminum industry in its 10-year roadmap. And as mega-casting and closed-loop recycling continue to advance, aluminum producers remain vital partners in helping automakers achieve aggressive carbon neutral targets.

—Mike Keown, chair of the Aluminum Transportation Group and CEO of Commonwealth Rolled Products


The report, which reflects data collected during an 8-month period through interviews with leading automakers, Tier 1 suppliers and aluminum producer companies, identifies five key market themes:

  • Proliferation of BEVs will significantly change the NA light vehicle landscape. BEV share of production nearly doubled from just under 3% in 2020 to approximately 6% in 2022. By 2030, BEVs, which on average are more aluminum-intensive, are expected to exceed 36% share of production.

  • Trend toward larger vehicles that have more aluminum content per vehicle. Consumers affinity toward larger vehicles continues, helping drive increased aluminum growth. In 2022, light trucks outnumbered cars four to one and contained more than 30% more aluminum than cars.

  • Aggressive CO2 and Miles Per Gallon (MPG) regulatory targets helping drive EV adoption and aluminum growth. Recent federal regulation ushering in more stringent CO2 and MPG targets expected for 2027 to 2030 incentivizes EV adoption and helps further drive aluminum growth.

  • Aluminum content per vehicle continues its uninterrupted growth. A net gain of 56 pounds per vehicle is expected between 2020 and 2025 with aluminum growing by almost 100 net PPV between 2020 and 2030 to 550 PPV, a 233% increase over 1990, when aluminum accounted for just 165 PPV.

  • Near term aluminum growth led by extrusions and sheet. Extrusions demonstrate significant growth within the body-in-white (BIW) and crash management systems (CMS) gaining 47 pounds per vehicle from 2020 to 2030, becoming the fastest growing product form, while auto body sheet (ABS) and sheet for thermal management systems will increase 41 PPV from 2020 to 2030. Castings remain the largest aluminum product form, but growth is limited as powertrain and transmission components are replaced by e-drives, battery housings, high-voltage devices, etc.

Electrification positively affects aluminum content and compensates for the transition away from powertrain and transmission components, which are primarily aluminum. As electrified powertrains create significant growth opportunities for aluminum, more stringent fuel economy standards also continue to promote mass reduction in ICE vehicles.

—Abey Abraham, principal of automotive and materials at Ducker Carlisle

Additional findings from the triannual “North American Light Vehicle Aluminum Content and Outlook” include:

  • Key components for aluminum growth on EVs between 2022 and 2030 include battery housings, e-motors and drives, door sills and rockers.

  • By 2030, battery electric light-trucks are expected to average 644 pounds of aluminum content.

  • SUVs and pickups will make up nearly 85% of the BEV market by 2030.



In spite of being regarded as a hydrogen and fuel cell advocate, which I am in relative terms compared to the somewhat overoptimistic in my view projections of the utility of batteries, I have many times stated that I don't fancy FCEV vehicles, as it is way better in lots of ways to have smaller vehicles where BEVs can do a fine job, and which current FCEVs don't shine at.

But it seems that folk are bound and determined to have SUVs, in which case the landscape changes, as FCEVs can do the job with less weight etc than BEVs.


It would be interesting to bring that technology back into small ICE or full hybrids and see where you stand.



The problem is more of bulk than of weight, and integrating efficienct hydrogen storage units in small vehicles, ie cylinders, is tough.

But areas like the complexity of the air compression are being simplified, and progress is being made.

Since I am critical of jumping the gun by predicting too firmly rapid improvements in every criteria in BEVs, it behoves me to take care not to over-egg potential improvements in fuel cells and hydrogen storage though!

It does seem to me pretty nuts to try to totally write off Toyota's intellectual and production expertise in fuel cells as worthless though........

It seems likely to come in handy in a host of applications, possibly including personal car transport.

Where loads of power is needed, say for an SUV, perhaps pulling a trailer, then fuel cells and hydrogen shine.

Now batteries can and will improve.

But the notion that fuel cells and hydrogen storage technology are static, and bound to be overtaken, is demonstrably false.

IMO for small, lightish city cars, batteries are in the lead, but if people insist on SUVs......

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