Almost half of the participants in a recent automotive industry survey identified lightweighting as a top focus for improving fuel efficiency.
The fourth annual WardsAuto survey, sponsored by DuPont, also revealed that engine efficiency programs, vehicle electrification, and adoption of diesel for engines are also top concerns among respondents.
Results of the survey also found powertrain systems are the primary target for today’s lightweighting efforts and, while aluminium is expected to be relied on heavily to meet new CAFE standards, engineering plastics, advanced composites and multi-material or hybrid solutions will serve the industry well.
When asked to rate their confidence in the ability of today’s materials to portfolio to help them meet the stringent regulations, half the respondents said they were only “moderately confident”. “That rather ‘middle of the road,’ ambivalent assessment of the material palette suggests we need to work together to continue to drive innovation,” said Jeff Sternberg, director of DuPont Automotive Technology. “There is no silver bullet – every part and vehicle system faces a different set of requirements – but it is pretty clear that the automotive design and engineering community needs more support from advanced materials suppliers to reduce vehicle weight. The most effective approach involves value-chain collaboration to understand the needs and develop new materials, new designs, new manufacturing methods – or all three – to find solutions.”
Also, sixty six percent of the respondents said that the 2017-2025 CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards) could get more stringent as a result of the upcoming mid-term reviews.
Nearly half of the survey’s 880 respondents work at components or parts manufacturers, a quarter at automakers.