Aluminum heads the list of materials that the auto industry is turning to in order to meet 2025 CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards according to the annual Wards Auto survey, sponsored by DuPont Automotive. 33% of respondents cited this material compared to 32% in the 2014 survey. Meanwhile, multi-material solutions proponents fell slightly for 21% to 19% of respondents. Engineering plastics and advanced high-strength steel comprise the second tier of material strategies. Further, respondents continued to express "moderate confidence" that today's materials are sufficient to meet the future standards.
"We are pretty bullish on the impact that materials can have on lightweighting," said Jeff Sternberg, technology director, DuPont Automotive, "and new solutions continue to be introduced. But materials alone are not enough when it comes to reducing vehicle weight in the 10-15 percent range. Those big opportunities require fundamental changes in design, manufacturing and assembly as well. These more 'disruptive technology' developments are taking longer, but the work is moving forward. High volume adoption by 2025 may be optimistic for some of them, as we are just a little more than two vehicle model cycles away, but I am confident we will see an impact."