With all the worry about fuel economy these days there seems to be many in the auto industry who are lending attention to the engines of a car, but there aren’t too many who seem to be looking to the outside of the car for help. The bodies of all the cars that we drive on the road today (save a few that are made of fiberglass and carbon fiber) are by and large made with steel. Steel heavy and bulky and there is an alternative that has recently been suggested and even used; aluminum.
Aluminum bodied cars would represent a much lighter car overall and therefore the miles per gallon of an aluminum car would be much greater than the exact same car that is made with a traditional steel body. Because the engine and drivetrain will not have to work as hard to make the aluminum bodied car move, there will be the welcomed side effect of less carbon emissions being expelled from the vehicle as well.
Another great benefit that comes with the weight reduction of aluminum is the fact that because the metal is lighter “as is” there is no need to reduce the size of a vehicle to create a savings in total weight. Total weight is always a top concern with car manufacturers especially when it comes to those who make sports cars.
Many people think that because the aluminum body of a car is lighter that it would not be as safe as the heavier steel and therefore would not be as safe. Actually that theory is in fact the opposite. While steel is indeed heavier than aluminum it is also considerably more rigid. Aluminum has the uncanny ability to fold and crease when involved in a collision and armed with this knowledge engineers are designing some relatively innovative safety techniques.
Where steel cannot be manipulated to fold in different ways aluminum can and this represents a whole new way that safety can be implemented. Aluminum can actually be designed to fold or collapse in certain ways and these ways can actually be controlled by the engineers. This means that the aluminum can be coerced if you will so that it will absorb more energy than that of the rigid steel.
With all of the added benefits that aluminum bodies offer, you can begin to see why it is going to continue to be discussed and why this will not be an exception to the rule, but will soon be the rule itself. This isn’t just something that the hybrids are going to latch onto either. This technology will prove its worth in the everyday drivers as well.
Increased fuel mileage, a decrease in weight, and better overall safety; what more could the car consumer ask for. Aluminum bodied cars will begin to start popping up before you know it as is evident with Audi and it is but a matter of time before everyone sees that the idea is truly worth its weight in gold; or aluminum as the case may be.