Pendulum is swinging towards aluminum for EVs; consumption expected to accelerate
Friday, July 31, 2020
“It’s been a long incubation period, but electric vehicles are swinging the pendulum. Aluminum is a higher performing material than steel,” said an executive involved in the auto supply chain.
Aluminum prices are typically about three times that of steel. But the industry is prepared to accept the price difference due to the sheer scale of potential sales.
“Aluminium better protects passengers and the structure of the car in a crash situation, the Crash Management System absorbs the energy created,” said Paul Warton, president of Constellium’s Automotive Structures and Industry Business.
“When you have an impact you don’t destroy the car, you just change the bumper.”
CRU analyst James Wren estimates the average amount of aluminum used in electric vehicles is 30% higher than internal combustion engine cars.
“Aluminum battery housing is what many companies want to capitalize on, it’s going to be a big market,” Wren said.
“The electric vehicle segment is the bright spot in the automotive segment, currently 20% of sales volume is going to e-mobility and the tendency is increasing,” said Egil Hogna, head of Extruded Solutions at Norsk Hydro.
Hydro delivers more than 350,000 tonnes of aluminum products to the auto industry every year, with rough estimates showing around 15% of that going to electric vehicles.
It allocated 30% of its auto investment budget within its Extruded Solutions division to products for electric vehicle customers this year and expects annual growth of 20% in some parts of its aluminum product business between 2020 and 2024.