See, the Volt program is indeed moving forward. At the very least, we now know what wheels the Volt will sport when (fingers crossed) it goes on sale in late 2010. Alcoa Automotive Wheels announced this week that GM has picked its forged aluminum wheels for the plug-in halo car. Alcoa's press release, pasted after the jump, notes that the lightweight nature of the aluminum wheels - Alcoa claims they're 20 percent lighter with twice the strength of a "similar cast aluminum wheel" - was the main selling point.
Alcoa might not be the most well-known company, but we've written about their green efforts before. Alcoa has worked on the Rocky Mountain Institute's plug-in hybrid electric vehicle and a Ferrari frame, and has been doing carbon capture in Australia.
GM Selects Alcoa Forged Aluminum Wheels for Chevy Volt
Lightweight Wheel Improves Electric Vehicle Driving Range and Economy
CLEVELAND--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Alcoa Automotive Wheels, a division of Alcoa Wheel and Transportation Products, announced today that it has been awarded the wheel program for the Chevy Volt extended-range electric vehicle.
"Alcoa is pleased to supply forged aluminum wheels for the Volt. Working closely with the GM team resulted in a wheel designed, engineered and manufactured for light weight performance that will further extend the range of this alternative propulsion vehicle," said Mike Parnell, Vice President and General Manager – Alcoa Auto Wheels.
General Motors has targeted the Chevy Volt to deliver up to 40 miles of gasoline- and emissions-free electric driving with the extended-range capability of hundreds of additional miles. Removing unnecessary weight from the vehicle platform was a major goal of the program.
"The Volt is symbolic of GM's strong commitment to the future ... just the kind of technology innovation that our industry needs to respond to today's and tomorrow's energy and environmental challenges," stated Rick Wagoner, GM Chairman and CEO, during the GMnext Centennial Broadcast held on September 16, 2008.
Alcoa (NYSE:AA) focused on design, engineering and production techniques to increase strength and durability while lowering the overall weight of the wheel. Forged aluminum wheels by Alcoa provide increased strength and durability gains and are typically greater than 20 percent lighter while doubling strength as compared to a similar cast aluminum wheel.
Lightweight wheels not only have a linear effect on reducing emissions and fuel consumption but can further improve driving performance and efficiency from a lower rotary inertia. As the energy used to accelerate and decelerate the wheel is reduced, less mass is required in adjacent, un-sprung components such as brakes, steering and suspension. Lowering overall un-sprung weight compounds the benefits of fuel economy and reduces emissions.
General Motors unveiled the production version of the Volt during their recent 100th anniversary celebration in Detroit. Volt production is expected in late 2010.
"Alcoa provides the benefits of lightweight forged aluminum wheel programs for many global manufacturers and is honored to be working closely with GM on the Volt. Optimizing wheel weight enhances vehicle performance increasing driving range and economy while lowering emissions," concluded Parnell.
About Alcoa Wheel and Transportation Products
Alcoa Wheel and Transportation Products, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, serves the commercial vehicle, automotive, and defense markets with products used in a range of applications including cast and forged aluminum wheels, aluminum space frames, specialized vacuum die cast products, niche products such as Dura-Bright® and Dura-Flange® wheels and M-Series™ medium truck wheels, as well as a variety of other aluminum components for these markets. AWTP is composed of three divisions: Transportation Products, Commercial Vehicle Wheels, and Automotive Wheels. It employs 2,800 people at 30 locations worldwide.
Alcoa is the world leader in the production and management of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum and alumina combined through its active and growing participation in all major aspects of the industry. Alcoa serves the aerospace, automotive, packaging, building and construction, commercial transportation and industrial markets, bringing design, engineering, production and other capabilities of Alcoa's businesses to customers. In addition to aluminum products and components including flat-rolled products, hard alloy extrusions, and forgings, Alcoa also markets Alcoa® wheels, fastening systems, precision and investment castings, structures and building systems. The Company has 97,000 employees in 34 countries and has been named one of the top most sustainable corporations in the world at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. More information can be found at www.alcoa.com