The battle between materials for the next-generation vehicles continues to heat up. A new study by the Aluminum Association claims a savings of up to $3,000 per electric vehicle can be achieved by reducing structure weight by 10 percent with aluminum.
“As automakers gear up for a new generation of plug-in electric vehicles, the high cost of battery power remains a barrier,” says Michael Bull, Director of Automotive Technology for Novelis. “What this new report shows is that by upgrading from traditional steel to an advanced aluminum body structure, the vehicle’s stored energy requirements can be cut by about 10 percent, which could save up to $3,000 per vehicle since less power and energy is required to move the lighter vehicle.” Bull is a representative of the Aluminum Association
As the 3D printing and overall additive manufacturing ecosystem grows, standards and guidelines from standards bodies and government organizations are increasing. Multiple players with multiple needs are also driving the role of 3DP and AM as enabling technologies for distributed manufacturing.
A growing though not-so-obvious role for 3D printing, 4D printing, and overall additive manufacturing is their use in fabricating new materials and enabling new or improved manufacturing and assembly processes. Individual engineers, OEMs, university labs, and others are reinventing the technology to suit their own needs.
For vehicles to meet the 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, three things must happen: customers must look beyond the data sheet and engage materials supplier earlier, and new integrated multi-materials are needed to make step-change improvements.
3D printing, 4D printing, and various types of additive manufacturing (AM) will get even bigger in 2015. We're not talking about consumer use, which gets most of the attention, but processes and technologies that will affect how design engineers design products and how manufacturing engineers make them. For now, the biggest industries are still aerospace and medical, while automotive and architecture continue to grow.
More and more -- that's what we'll see from plastics and composites in 2015, more types of plastics and more ways they can be used. Two of the fastest-growing uses will be automotive parts, plus medical implants and devices. New types of plastics will include biodegradable materials, plastics that can be easily recycled, and some that do both.
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