Demand for aluminium in the auto industry is expected to more than double by 2025 as manufacturers seek lightweight alternatives to steel in an effort to meet ever tightening fuel efficiency regulations.
Reuters reports that more and more auto makers are beginning the transition away from heavy steel components and moving toward an increased use of aluminium according to the world's leading producer of primary and fabricated aluminium, Alcoa, whose director of automotive marketing, Randall Scheps, spoke to delegates attending the American Metal Market's Aluminium Summit in New York this week.
Scheps said that as markets around the world tighten fuel standards, carmakers are forced to react. "We have every car maker calling us, wanting to increase their aluminium content, wanting to start new R&D projects about how they can convert bodies from steel to aluminium, wanting to convert hoods and doors from steel to aluminium," Scheps said.
Scheps expects this transition to more than double the auto industry's overall rate of aluminium consumption from 11.5 million tons in 2011 to a predicted 24.8 million tons by 2025 – when the average car will incorporate 250kg of aluminium compared to the 155kg in today's vehicles.
While use of the lightweight metal is not new with the Jaguar XJ and Mercedes-Benz SL relying on aluminium to reduce weight, companies such as BMW have lent towards the use of carbonfibre and carbonfibre reinforced plastics (CRP) as seen in the BMW i3, BMW i8 and the roof of both the BMW M3 (pictured above) and BMW M6 to aid performance and improve dynamics.