Plastics rank highly in lightweighting strategies, per DuPont survey


Lightweighting and use of lightweight structural materials will be the key enabler in realizing 2017-2025 CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards according to 49 percent of the respondents in an annual survey sponsored by DuPont Automotive (Troy, MI).

Now in its fourth year, the WardsAuto survey also reported that 66 percent of the nearly 900 respondents thought that the CAFE standards could get more stringent as a result of upcoming mid-term reviews. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards require, on an average industry fleet-wide basis, 163 g/mile of CO2 in model year 2025, which would be equivalent to 54.5 mpg (4.3 l/100km) if this level were achieved solely through improvements in fuel efficiency.

In terms of lightweighting strategies, while use of aluminum topped the leader board with 27 percent of respondents saying they were most heavily relying on the metal to achieve CAFE standards, multi-material solutions came in second (16 percent), with engineering plastics third (13 percent).

Results of the survey also found powertrain systems are the primary target for today's lightweighting efforts, followed by chassis (fuel, exhaust and suspension, body-in-white, and electrical and accessories and body panels ranking fourth-equal.

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