Aluminum Transportation Group chairman Tom Boney of Novelis, made the following remarks at Shifting Gears: Meeting the Challenge of Higher Fuel Economy Regulations, a Bloomberg Government event.
“Thank you for that introduction and thank you all for being here this morning. Like you, I’m looking forward to a lively discussion on the Midterm review. And, no matter where the final regulations end up for 2025, it’s clear they could have profound implications for automakers…for consumers…for our energy security…and for our environment.
How it all comes together remains unknown at this point—at least to me. One thing I can say with certainty, however, is that new cars and trucks are more and more being made with multi–materials. That trend will accelerate as aluminum will play an even greater role in helping automakers address today’s challenges and achieve tomorrow’s vision. With that in mind, I’d like to make four quick points before we hear from our speaker and the panel.
First, aluminum is delivering. Aluminum use rose steadily the past forty years as automakers pursued higher fuel economy and reduced emissions. Both Oak Ridge National Lab and Ford Motor Company in separate studies confirm aluminum produces the smallest full life cycle carbon footprint of all competing materials.
And last year, the breakthrough aluminum-bodied F-150 proved aluminum can thrive in mass market applications. In the pickup category, F-150 leads in safety (five stars from NHTSA, over the 4-star rated steel-bodied truck it replaced), it leads in fuel economy and emissions for gas powered trucks, and, yes, it leads in sales.
At the other extreme, perhaps, are electric vehicles. Aluminum helps offset the weight penalty associated with battery power so that Tesla’s 5-star safety rated, aluminum-bodied Model S travels farther than other EVs, at more than 250 miles on a single charge.
Second, aluminum is growing. Aluminum’s market share growth will continue during the next decade with the next frontier being doors, hoods, trunks, bumpers and the holy Grail: full body structures. F150 was first in the mass market, but there is more to come. With respect to our topic today, in an independent survey by WardsAuto and Dupont, auto engineers and designers confirmed aluminum is their top material choice to help meet the expected fuel economy and emissions standards by 2025.
Third, aluminum is innovating. My company, Novelis, recently created a high-strength automotive aluminum alloy that further cuts weight, enhances formability and styling, and yet is up to three times stronger than the aluminum used in high volumes today. Alcoa’s new Micromill technology delivers aluminum sheet that is thirty percent stronger and forty percent more formable than today’s automotive aluminum.
And, Ford and the aluminum industry invested in state-of-the art closed loop recycling technology as Ford confirms it can now recover and recycle enough high-strength aluminum alloy scrap from the manufacturing process to produce the equivalent of 30,000 new aluminum-bodied trucks each month.
Finally, aluminum is investing. Just since 2013, Aluminum Association member companies announced U.S. plant expansions and planned investment totaling more than $2.6 billion to meet growth projections. As need arises, we’ll invest even more. These are good, domestic manufacturing jobs that will support our automotive customers’ capacity demands for the long term.
To sum up, aluminum builds a better car and a better truck in every category—and we look forward to helping our automotive customers sell even more vehicles that are safe, practical, efficient and sustainable—all the while being high performing and fun to drive.
And with that, I would like to welcome Bloomberg BNA’s Stephanie Beasley to the stage to get our first interview started this morning. Thank you.”Download PDF