Aluminium Content In Vehicle Manufacturing Continues To Grow

A new survey of vehicle manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers shows aluminium use in new electric vehicles will continue to grow to the end of the decade. The Light Vehicle Aluminum Content and Outlook Study, published by The Aluminum Association in the USA, indicates the demand for more sustainable transportation will help drive an increase in market share for aluminium content by nearly 100 net pounds per vehicle (PPV) from 2020 to 2030.

According to the report, the proliferation of new battery electric vehicles (BEV) has dramatically changed the light vehicle landscape. The 2022 BEV share of production was approximately six per cent – almost twice that of 2020. By 2030, BEVs are expected to exceed 36 per cent share of production.

An average BEV in 2022 had an average aluminium content of 885 PPV – 85 per cent more than its non-BEV counterpart. In 2020, the average BEV contained 643 PPV.

Market affinity toward larger vehicles is also increasing aluminium CVP (content per vehicle), with the average light truck in 2022 containing over 30 per cent more aluminium than a passenger vehicle. Last year, the car versus light truck mix was 19 per cent / 81 per cent compared to 25 per cent / 75 per cent in 2020.

According to the association, aluminium CPV is outperforming near term expectations as uninterrupted growth continues, with a net gain of 59 PPV between 2020 and 2025. 2022 CPV is 501 net PPV, resulting in 8.2 billion pounds (3.7 billion kilograms) of gross aluminium demand for 14.2 million vehicles. Aluminium CPV is expected to grow by almost 100 net PPV between 2020 and 2030.

The near-term growth is led by extrusions and sheet – aluminium extrusions grew by 13 PPV between 2020 and 2022, while sheet grew by 26 PPV. Extrusions have demonstrated significant growth within body-in-white, accounting for 11 PPV growth. Automotive body sheet and sheet for thermal management account for most of the 26 PPV growth.

The average BEV in 2022 contains 492 PPV of castings, compared with 290 PPV for the non-BEVs counterpart.

According to the report, regulation is the key to growth of the lightweight material in vehicles, with the EPA and NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) likely to introduce new CO2 and fuel efficiency targets for 2027 to 2030 and beyond.