Materials: the assurance that soon we will enjoy lighter cars that never

a few days Ago we spoke about a topic that we cared about, and personally we disappointed them, the overweight modern cars. I already said that it was a necessary evil, if we wanted safer cars, well equipped, and with a price within the reach of all of the public, there was no more remedy that to achieve these objectives. What is interesting, and the stroke of optimism that today we can pass on to you, it is precisely in the fact that this trend is reversing. We are finally starting to get used to that pretty much every car that is presented is more lightweight than its predecessor. And we have reached a point in which we can already say that very soon the car will be lighter than ever. Leading to a philosophy, the subtraction of kilograms, and need less power to cover our needs, that we love.

The high-strength steels are being one of the keys to getting lighter cars without the cost shoot.

The same techniques that have helped to improve the safety of our cars, are getting that these are increasingly lighter. The small revolution that we have experienced in recent years in the automotive industry has come from the hand of the alloys. Beyond techniques such as downsizing, reducing the size of the engines to get the same power, and performance, by using techniques such as turbocharging, the materials are being a major key to the lightening of our cars.

manufacturers already working with new alloys of steel with different compositions of carbon and iron, and different processes of setting, get a sheet of steel more thin and light to enjoy the same resistance that the blades used to date. Are the so-called steels of high and ultra-high strength, materials without increasing greatly the cost of producing a car, can contribute to thin out the mass of a modern car.

peso-coches-modernos-ligeros-01ten years Ago, the Audi A2 made essentially aluminum, was misunderstood. Today, the use of aluminum structures, or even elements such as the hood or the trunk lid is common.

The high-strength steels are only the beginning. aluminum is fast becoming one of the materials most common in the structures and the bodywork of modern cars. Working with the aluminum, and alloys are more resistant, and economical to produce, it is getting that many manufacturers can afford to make increasing use of this material. Beyond the premium models like the Audi A4, which already used aluminium in the suspension, and exterior panels, such as the tailgate, we have cases as interesting as the Ford F-150. The new pick-up Ford has managed to reduce its mass by more than 300 kilograms thanks to a very extensive use of aluminum. Remember we are talking about a real best-seller the blue oval, which last year sold a total of 780.354 units in the united States.

Very soon we acostumbraremos more and more cars, also a generalist, to use aluminum in more structural components and exterior claddings. That was precisely one of the reasons why the old Audi A2, which recently met ten years ago, remains for us a car service, a misunderstood that it was certainly ahead of his time.

In any case, nor have we forgotten that the use of new materials, in addition to requiring new production techniques, requires some adaptation to using new techniques of maintenance and repair. Working with aluminum is not comparable to working with steel. And if we talk about materials even more exotic, the technical complexity increases even more.

renault-eolab-prueba-14Renault looks feasible in the medium to long term it is feasible to use other types of materials, such as magnesium.

The aluminum is just the beginning. Already we are seeing many manufacturers are studying the use of other types of materials, such as titanium or magnesium. The problem remains in taking on challenges beyond the cost and the complexity of its production, or the availability of the raw material. A while ago we tested a prototype of Renault, which had turned to chalk, lighter, more durable, and very suitable to create structural parts of large size. Imagine that the roof of a compact assembly in magnesium may weigh only 4 kilograms. Amazing.

One of the big problems that Renault had found the time to study their use in this prototype, and future production models, it was just in to get a welding process appropriate to employ elements of magnesium coupled to steel and aluminium. Your treatment to ensure its durability, and its resistance to the passage of time and the processes of painting, he also demanded the employment of certain technologies that are developing in these moments. Renault claimed that, in the medium or long term, could make the use of magnesium to be viable in future generations of Mégane, or even Clio.

peso-coches-modernos-ligeros-04The carbon fiber, little by little, you will no longer be exclusive to supercars very expensive and exclusive to be used increasingly in structures, exterior siding and interior, and even tires, from passenger cars to all the public.

The carbon fiber is also emerging as a medium term solution to achieve this goal. We have become used to certain sports, not necessarily as exotic and expensive as a supercar 600 HP, to resort to a massive use of carbon fiber. The best example we have in the Alfa 4C, and its carbon-fibre monocoque. And at this point we’re realizing what are the major problems that prevent the carbon fiber is a standard, at least in passenger cars by general practitioners, the cost and the complexity of its production. Develop pieces as large as the monocoque of the Alfa 4C requires the use of an instrumental very concrete, and it is very expensive. And that is the reason why their annual production is very limited.

In any case, the carbon fiber itself is starting to gain ground in your employment on elements smaller and more manageable. It has seemed to us particularly interesting the case of the new BMW 7 Series, BMW has created what they refer to as the Carbon Core. Essentially it would be based on an intelligent combination of carbon fiber, aluminum and steel. To explain it in a simple way, and even vulgar, imagine you have a straw with a drink, out of plastic, which with a little effort bent, that on the inside you enter a rod of steel, through which clearly will not bend so easily. BMW would have given shape to this idea by creating structures of steel and aluminum in the interior of which there is a core of carbon fiber.

peso-coches-modernos-ligeros-05And this is only the beginning. The future of the automotive industry is drawn around the use of increasingly lighter materials and resistant. The future commitments, mainly those related to greenhouse gas emissions and energy efficiency, demand lighter cars. That need is even greater around the arrival of the electric car, which as a result of the requirements of systems of energy storage especially heavy, require a higher lightening for more autonomy, you travel more miles with a single recharge.

so that the material, together with other techniques, such as downsizing, they get to that today we can say that, without a doubt, very soon we will enjoy lighter cars than ever before. And that is a story that, as a minimum, we must generate optimism.

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