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Aluminum Boosts MPG and Battery Range, Cuts Carbon

When high-strength, lightweight advanced aluminum alloys replace steel, vehicles can keep or even increase their size, while still cutting weight. The less a car or truck weighs, the less fuel or battery power is needed to move it, extending range and reducing tailpipe carbon emissions (and emissions at every stage of a vehicle’s life).

The Most Powerful Range Rover Ever Is Surprisingly Fuel Efficient,” Wired Magazine, August 2014

Some of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in the world rely on automotive aluminum in their designs. With the help of aluminum, the Ford F-150 has the highest EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings among gas-powered full-size pickups. Moreover, the Tesla Model S electric car continues to redefine mobility by combining award-winning efficiency with uncompromised performance.

As more hybrids and fully electric vehicles hit the roads, the need for heavy battery power can be reduced in an aluminum intensive vehicle because less weight requires less battery power. And, when aluminum is used to reduce the weight of commercial vehicles, freight haulers can save on fuel costs and are able to carry more payload efficiently.

Aluminum’s Efficiency Advantages

  • A five to seven percent fuel savings can be realized for every 10 percent weight reduction when traditional steel is replaced with aluminum in vehicles.
  • Reducing weight with aluminum enables the use of smaller, more efficient engines and smaller fuel-efficient multi-speed transmissions.
  • No vehicle technology strategy can cost-effectively achieve a 50+ MPG fuel economy target without significant weight reduction. This can be done with materials substitution to avoid less desirable downsizing of vehicle.
  • Using aluminum in electric vehicles can increase the vehicle’s driving range by roughly the same proportion as it reduces weight—for example, reducing the weight by 20 percent will allow the vehicle to travel 20 percent farther on the same charge.

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