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
These new 3D-printing technologies and printers include some that are truly boundary-breaking: a sophisticated new sub-$10,000, 10-plus materials bioprinter, the first industrial-strength silicone 3D-printing service, and a clever twist on 3D printing and thermoforming for making high-quality realistic models.
Using simulation to guide the drafting process can speed up the design and production of 3D-printed nanostructures, reduce errors, and even make it possible to scale up the structures. Oak Ridge National Laboratory has developed a model that does this.
Engineers need workhorse materials with beefy mechanical properties for industrial designs made with 3D printing. Very few have been designed from the ground up for additive manufacturing, but that picture is beginning to change.
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