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
How 3D printing fits into the digital thread, and the relationship between its uses for prototyping and for manufacturing, was the subject of a talk by Proto Labs' Rich Baker at last week's Design & Manufacturing Minneapolis.
How can automakers, aerospace contractors, and other OEMs get new metal alloys that are stronger, harder, and can survive ever higher temperatures? One way is to redesign their crystalline structures at the nanoscale and microscale.
Although a lot of the excitement about 3D printing and additive manufacturing surrounds its ability to make end-products and functional prototypes, some often ignored applications are the big improvements that can come by using it for tooling, jigs, and fixtures.
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