As automakers and their suppliers from around the world strive to develop fuel-saving technologies, the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) has announced a new program to help the Canadian transportation industry reduce the weight of cars, trucks, trailers, buses, and trains by developing innovative aluminium technology.
“Canada is a global leader in producing aluminium, and now has the opportunity to lead the world in the transformation of aluminium into parts for lighter weight vehicles,” said Michel Dumoulin, general manager of the Automotive and Surface Transportation portfolio at the National Research Council of Canada. “This program will support Canadian manufacturers in developing lighter parts and structures that will make our vehicles more fuel efficient, safer, and environmentally friendly.”
The new Lightweighting of Ground Transportation Vehicles program will see to the development, validation, and deployment of advanced technologies to form aluminium into parts and to assemble and join these parts into next-generation vehicles. The $45-million program will enable industry to reduce overall vehicle weight by 10 percent within the next eight years.
Before an audience of automakers at the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association’s annual conference in Windsor, Ontario, NRC also announced a new research and development consortium that will bring together industry partners from all areas of the manufacturing supply chain to address issues in advanced aluminium shaping, aluminium durability, and parts assembly.
This program and consortium address an immediate industry need as automakers try to find innovative ways to build lighter vehicles and meet strict new fuel efficiency requirements such as the American CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) regulations to reach 54.5 mpg (4.3 litre per 100 kilometers) average fuel economy by 2025.
Vehicle lightweighting is considered by automakers to have the greatest potential in allowing them to meet these regulations.