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With the increasingly stringent global vehicle emission regulations, the goal of achieving lightweight vehicles is still a top priority for many multinational automakers. As we all know, fuel consumption, carbon dioxide emissions are proportional to the weight of the car, and aluminum weighs only 1/3 of the weight of steel. In order to achieve the purpose of reducing weight, the car companies have turned their attention to aluminum, hoping to improve the fuel economy of the car and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. At present, the new technological revolution with autonomous driving and electric vehicles as the main direction is sweeping the automotive industry, which will further boost the global demand for automotive aluminum.
Recently, the world's leading aluminum producer Novelis predicted that due to the rising production of electric vehicles in China, the demand for aluminum in the Asian automotive industry will increase by 20%-25% this year. The comprehensive advantages of aluminum in terms of safety, durability, flexibility and environmental protection have been recognized by more and more people in the automotive industry and consumers. At the same time, the shortcomings of high cost, low strength and poor welding performance of aluminum can not be ignored. How to make good use of aluminum to promote the development of automotive electrification and intelligence is still a difficult problem for many automakers.
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Aluminum helps electric vehicles to lose weight
Recently, the German component supplier Continental announced a new research result, a new concept wheel specially developed for electric vehicles. The Continental Group has completely designed the wheels and axles. The outer ring of the tires is made of aluminum planetary carrier. The equipment is firmly fixed to the hub by bolting. The brake discs are also made of aluminum. Continental said the design optimizes the braking of electric vehicles by reducing tire weight while eliminating the poor braking performance of conventional brake rotors that may be subject to corrosion. At the same time, the design also helps to reduce the maintenance cost of the car and extend the service life of the car.
At present, the rapid development of new energy vehicles will greatly boost the demand for automotive aluminum. Compared with traditional fuel vehicles, in order to maximize the driving range under the premise of limited battery capacity, it is more urgent to solve the problem of lightweighting of electric vehicles. For electric vehicles, the biggest appeal of consumers is to guarantee driving mileage. In the case of the same battery capacity, it is necessary to install more batteries to increase the driving range. The battery is one of the most important costs of electric vehicles. Installing more batteries not only increases the cost significantly, but also increases the weight of the vehicle. Consume more power. Therefore, the urgency of "slimming" electric vehicles is much greater than that of traditional fuel vehicles, and the use of aluminum can effectively reduce the overall weight of the body.
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The application of aluminum alloys in new energy vehicles can improve efficiency, reduce fuel consumption and save energy and reduce emissions. Therefore, the all-aluminum body is one of the development directions of lightweight vehicles for new energy vehicles. The Model S, a representative model of Tesla, uses an all-aluminum body. In the first half of this year, Tesla Model S won the most popular luxury model in the US market, and its sales volume was crushed by Mercedes-Benz and BMW. In addition to its technologically savvy design and construction, one of the most striking features of the Model S is the use of aluminum alloy as the body frame material, resulting in a significant reduction in overall body weight and a better driving experience for consumers.
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The use of aluminum as the body material can effectively reduce the weight of the car body and reduce the manufacturing cost. According to a study by the European Aluminum Association, taking the Volkswagen Golf Edition as an example, in the case of the same driving range, the weight of the battery carried by the aluminum plate body is smaller than that of the steel plate, and the battery capacity of the all-aluminum body is better than that of the steel body. Reduced by 9%. Although the cost of the all-aluminum body is higher, the cost of the battery savings due to body weight reduction is more than the cost of using an all-aluminum body. On average, each aluminum electric vehicle is 635 euros cheaper than a conventional steel electric vehicle.
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Auto-driving is not afraid of high aluminum prices
In the future, autonomous vehicles will play an increasingly important role. Industry organizations predict that by 2035, the total number of cars with different levels of autopilot will reach 30 million. Industry experts pointed out that the rapid growth of the number of self-driving cars will also drive a significant increase in aluminum consumption. According to a recent study released by the University of Michigan, the total mileage of autonomous vehicles is expected to increase by more than 75% in the future. This will inevitably require autonomous vehicles to adopt more energy-efficient and lightweight product designs to improve energy efficiency. .
At present, due to the high cost, aluminum has not been able to achieve large-scale applications in the automotive industry. However, the price of self-driving vehicles is high, and car companies can use aluminum in self-driving cars and then distribute the costs to end users. In the future, the mileage of self-driving cars will greatly exceed that of ordinary household vehicles, and the accident rate due to human factors is low. In the future, a large number of self-driving cars using aluminum materials are likely to be provided by operators and taxis that provide car sharing services. Adopted by the company. Moreover, self-driving cars can provide services around the clock. Therefore, autonomous vehicles can use more aluminum to reduce the weight of the vehicle, thereby enhancing the application of aluminum in the automotive industry.
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In July of this year, the first Audi A8, the first production car with level 3 automatic driving level, was officially released. This “liberation of the driver’s hands” product is made of aluminum body. It is proved by practice that aluminum is a self-driving car. An indispensable "good partner." For car companies, the use of large amounts of aluminum in autonomous driving and electric vehicles helps offset the overall cost of lithium-ion batteries. With the further development of electric vehicles and self-driving cars, aluminum materials will be more widely used in the future.