BMW using more aluminum to cut vehicle weight

News | August 23rd, 2010 by 2
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A recent article published by Automotive News and quoting a BMW source, mentions the increased use of aluminum in future BMWs. Looking to reduce weight …

A recent article published by Automotive News and quoting a BMW source, mentions the increased use of aluminum in future BMWs. Looking to reduce weight and increase fuel efficiency, automakers around the world, including BMW, have begun using aluminum in the structure of their cars. Aluminum fits the bill as it is lighter than steel and sustainable because it can be recycled.

“The most significant changes were the introduction of aluminum doors and hoods in some models as well as casted structural components. The application of aluminum varies significantly between different models. As an example for a typical BMW premium car the new 5 series has aluminum parts totaling up to almost 20 percent of the vehicle weight”, said Frank Wienstroth, who oversees BMW’s communications on the supply chain and sustainability.

Use of lighter aluminum also leads to other savings such as less wear and tear.

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Next year, BMW will launch their first production 5 Series Hybrid vehicle which will make extensive use of aluminum.

Despite aluminum becoming more popular in car’s construction, steel remains an important metal in BMW vehicles, accounting for 40 percent of the weight and the company does not expect that to change in the upcoming years. As seen in the upcoming F10 BMW M5, the car’s construction will be a hybrid of an aluminum spaceframe for the front section and a traditional steel monocoque for the passenger compartment and rear.

“The lightweight strategies depend on the vehicle segment and the type of drive. In higher segments and for electric cars a more extensive use of lightweight parts is to be expected,” Wienstroth said.

On the subject of lighter, higher strength steel, BMW said: “Regarding cost optimization in weight reduction the weight advantage of aluminum can be equalized by new steel characteristics at lower material costs.”

As Automotive News reports as well, automakers have been always worried about the unstable aluminum price and its influence over cars’ pricing.

[Source: Autonews ]

2 responses to “BMW using more aluminum to cut vehicle weight”

  1. FreudeKing says:

    Why is there an Audi A8 advert in the middle of a BMW Blog article?

    Although aluminium saves weight. I must say that the door panels of the new 5 Series has a plastic feel to it. I tapped on the body panels of the cars to see if there is a quality feel and it seems to me that the 3 Series feels more rigid in that sense.

    Also, imagine the dents that you will be getting with the aluminium door panels. The car door is also much lighter and does not seem to have that quality feel of the 3 Series or the pvious gen 5 Series. Some people also mentioned that the new 5 feels a bit hollow when compared to the old 5.

  2. Alvin Wong says:

    Good. I’ll always love BMWs, but German cars have just gotten way too heavy. The focus on technology and comfort are great, but after driving some of the older BMW models (E30, E28, E21 etc.) it just made me miss the simplicity and purity of the way the car handled and felt.

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