Will Aluminum Trucks Sink or Swim?
With the constant pressure to improve the energy efficiency of all motor vehicles, truck manufacturers are definitely getting squeezed. One of the most recent “discoveries” in matter of automotive manufacturing is aluminum, as more and more automakers have decided that using aluminum for the production of their trucks can help improve their gas mileage and performance, but will they sink or swim? Ford is the first to enter the ring, making the 2015 F150 primarily of aluminum. Despite the advantages of using aluminum for truck production, it also has its obstacles, which mainly include the cost of aluminum, its durability and the ease of repair. Ford is one of the innovators in this domain, making its 2015 F-150 with aluminum body.
In order to determine the durability and ease of repair, Ford used a tougher testing regiment for its pickup truck, in a struggle to educate customers and technicians into the use of aluminum for the trucks. According to the company, it seems that the main advantage of using aluminum for the body of a pickup truck is that it increases the gas mileage, while another advantage would be less weight for the truck. The 2015 Ford F-150 is expected to have the following engines:
- 3.5-liter V-6
- 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6
- 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6
- 5.0-liter V-8
Other known details regarding this model include the following:
- Rear wheel drive
- Capacity of 3 passengers
- 2 passenger doors
- Electronic 6-Speed Automatic Transmission
Check out this post of the new Ford F-150 being tested for 36 hours in the desert.
General Motors is also working on aluminum-bodied pickup trucks, which is expected to happen by late 2018. Automakers are entertaining the use of more aluminum for their productio
General Motors is also working on aluminum-bodied pickup trucks, which is expected to happen by late 2018. Automakers are entertaining the use of more aluminum for their production because aluminum is lighter than steel and thus it is capable of improving fuel efficiency in order to face the global emissions standards, which continue to become stricter.
It is estimated that the use of aluminum in the automotive market will increase, being used in both passenger cars and pickup trucks. It is even estimated that vehicle hoods, along with other exterior components, might be made of aluminum in 85 percent of cars by 2025. In the present, Novelis Inc. is the biggest supplier of aluminum for the automotive market, and it expects the shipment of automotive aluminum to increase 25 percent by 2020.
Even though the cost, durability and repair of aluminum components is not yet completely known, it is estimated that aluminum will be used on a wider scale for future trucks, due to its ability to improve the power-to-weight ratios. Additionally aluminum can be cut and drilled more easily than steel, and it does not rust, which is another important aspect when using it for the production of a truck.
As any other thing that has its advantages, aluminum also has its disadvantages. While steel can be straightened, aluminum parts need to be replaced when broken. For this, it is estimated that the trucks using aluminum for their body would probably become more disposable and will rapidly lose their value. Because of the inability of aluminum to be repaired with ease, it is very likely that the costs of repair – or better said, replacement – would be higher for truck parts made of aluminum. This might mean that only a certain category of people would be able to buy and maintain a truck made of aluminum – those with more money of course.
According to some sources, it is said that aluminum sheet used for automotive bodies is in very high demand and companies are required to order aluminum sheet years in advance in order to be able to get the desired quantity. Current manufacturers of automotive aluminum are not yet equipped to handle the demand of multiple mass-production car manufacturers. Taking this into account, the question shouldn’t be whether or not aluminum trucks will sink or swim. The question should be when.