Alcoa Automotive Blog
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Jaguar working on aluminum X-Type successor
In the automotive rumor mill, Carl-Peter Forster, Tata Motors chief executive, has acknowledged that the Jaguar needs a smaller, higher-volume vehicle. It appears that such car is already under development.
Reportedly, Jaguar is working on a new modular aluminum platform that would be shared between the new smaller car, the mid-sized XF and the next-generation XK. This will result in a car that will actually look like a real Jaguar, not like the X-Type which was based off of the Ford Mondeo.
The new baby Jag bears a resemblance to the XF but with curvier rear haunches and XJ-style tail lamps. The power will come, most likely, from downsized and boosted four-cylinder gas and diesel engines, with the current 3.0-liter diesel V6 as a range-topper. A hybrid could also enter the mix.
Once the new smaller Jaguar debuts, all of this will help Jaguar meet the new EU CO2 emissions limits. This could happen as soon as soon as 2012.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Alcoa Wheels Launches CalcuLighterTM Version 2.0
Alcoa Wheels launched its innovative CalcuLighter™ Version 2.0 which is an easy to use online tool designed to provide detailed information that commercial vehicle fleet managers and owner-operators need when making wheel buying decisions to lower operating costs, improve productivity and reduce greenhouse gases.
CalcuLighter™ provides financial data with instant results to compare steel and aluminum wheel alternatives. It calculates the fuel, payload, scrap value and wheel maintenance information with N.A.D.A. Official Commercial Truck Guide trade-in value and carbon emission data. This is to compare the different investment results when selective alternatives. Results can change as users, who input their fleet profile, instantaneously enter new information such as the number of tractors and trailers. They can also print the results and file them for future reference of wheel purchases or ordering vehicles.
The launch of the upgrade to Version 2.0 also led to Alcoa Wheels announcing the new positioning statement, “Driving Your Bottom Line™”. This reflects an on-going commitment to improve productivity and lower operating costs for fleet managers and owner-operators.
CalcuLighter™ by Alcoa Wheels is available at www.alcoawheels.com/calculighter
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
The all-aluminum 182 horsepower engine in the 2011 Buick Regal comes to America
Manufactured in Russelsheim, Germany the 2011 Buick Regal comes to North America. The mid-size, four door sedan has an all-aluminum engine that is rated at 182 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. The Regal has standard six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.
There are two models: the standard CXL, fitted with a normally-aspirated 2.4-liter DOHC inline-four, and the CXL Turbo, which features a turbocharged version of the same engine rated at 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The Regal has StabiliTrak electronic stability control and power steering.
Some suspension features have been tweaked, such as the rear sway bar being slightly thinned and the shock settings altered while some of the bushings changed and the tires were replaced with all-season rubber. The standard wheels are 20-inch aluminum wrapped in 235/50R18 tires, while 19-inch alloys fitted with 245/40R19 tires are optional. The doors were stripped of Opel badging, inside and out, and were replaced with traditional Buick waterfall grille. Inside the leather, faux and metal take over the inside of the vehicle with the dashboard having dark and light colors and the door handles with a bright finish.
The 2001 Buck Regal starts at $26,245.
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Autmotive aluminum gains on steel for the 39th year in a row.
In the last 39 years, we've been through ups and downs in the market, environmental and political challenges, and more. But you can say one thing: the driving experience has just gotten better and better. Better mileage, better reliability, better features, more comfort, more safety, more fun.
Coincidentally, or perhaps not, aluminum content in cars has grown steadily too: year after year after year. That's the conclusion of a new study by Ducker Worldwide, sponsored by the Aluminum Association.
In 1970, aluminum accounted for 2.0% of vehicle curb weight. In 2009, aluminum's share quadrupled to 8.6%, and it's expected to scale up to 10.4% by 2020.
That's not really surprising. It has been this way since the Nixon administration. Each and every year, more pounds of aluminum go into passenger cars, and 2009 will be no exception.
What is surprising is the news about where the growth is and which cars are getting more aluminum: the Chevy Malibu, Honda Pilot and others in the economy section of the food chain. Aluminum solutions that first made Ferraris and Audis lighter, stronger, and faster are now adding safety, sustainability and fuel economy to the cars that mere mortals drive.
Today, the average vehicle in North America contains 326 pounds of aluminum. The lion's share of the poundage goes into big chunks of metal like engine blocks, transmission housings, and suspension and frame components. These parts were less likely candidates for aluminum substitution decades ago, but advances in design, alloy chemistry, and fabrication have made it easier and easier for cars to lighten up.
Who's the lightweight leader of the pack? Would you believe an SUV? The 2009 Honda Pilot is 10.2% aluminum by curb weight. It's also longer, taller and wider than previous Pilot models, without being heavier. Its gas mileage is what you'd expect from a Honda: at the top of its class. And it maintains a 5-star safety rating from NHTSA.
Which part of the world leads the trend? That would be North America, home of the SUV. Consumers' preference for these vehicles, combined with rising gas prices and increasing pressure to reduce emissions has made aluminum the answer for doing more with less. At the other end of the carbon footprint, lightweighting solutions that include aluminum are helping realize the goal of affordable ultra-high mileage in a new generation of hybrid vehicles.
The researchers who put this study together are confident that this trend will continue, and we'll be seeing an average of 376 pounds per vehicles, or 10.4% of curb weight, at the end of the next decade. Whatever the actual numbers, you can bet that as the world grows more urbanized and more fragile at the same time, the magic of aluminum in making transportation more sustainable will play a definite part.
This info was presented at an Aluminum Association webinar April , 2009. To find out how you can get a transcript, click here.
Or else stay tuned to www.alcoa.com/auto
. We'll be posting one there soon.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Aluminum sets content record again; vindicates my Honda Pilot
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
If you're in a hurry to green up a car design, you'll want to catch this webinar
I'm listening to a presentation by the aluminum assocation on the benefits of aluminum in automotive design. As you may know, aluminum is lighter than steel, and can be substituted for steel in automotive design to reduce vehicle weight. This webinar will get you up to speed, so to speak. And you'll also find out where lightweighting will take you: bottom line, if you reduce the weight of a vehicle by 10%, you'll improve mileage by 3-4%. Lighter cars save fuel and emissions. What about safety, you might ask? Aluminum can improve safety by allowing you to design a bigger vehicle, with a bigger safety margin, without adding weight.
To those of us in the business, this is pretty everyday stuff. But if you're new to this thing ... or if you're a car designer in a hurry to green up your product, the scientific detail in this presentation will help you get the job done.
Here's a link to the Aluminum Association's web site
, where they should be posting a recording of this event soon.
And here's a link to another great source of lightweighting ideas
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