With the 2025 CAFE target set at 54.5 miles per gallon, the race to develop fuel-efficient vehicles is on. According to Frost & Sullivan, this race to 54.5 will necessitate a healthy dose of lightweight automotive components.

Frost & Sullivan's latest report, "Prevalent Substitution Trends within Materials and Chemicals in Automotive Lightweighting," finds the lightweight automotive materials segment earned revenues of $38 billion in 2010. That's respectable, but F&S thinks this will more than double to $95.34 billion in 2017, driven mainly by strict fuel economy standards.

Since the weight of a vehicle has a direct impact on its fuel efficiency (roughly, a 10-percent reduction in weight results in fuel savings of between five and seven percent), Frost & Sullivan says lightweighting will be a big focus of automakers and suppliers in the years to come, with the following materials playing a key role, in descending order:
  • Advanced High-strength Steels (AHSS)
  • Aluminum
  • Magnesium
  • Polypropylene
  • Polyamides (PA 6 and PA 66)
  • Polyurethanes
  • Acrylo-Nitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)
  • Thermosetting Composites
  • High-performance Polymers (PA11, PA12, PA46, PPA, PPS, PEEK)
No, we're not exactly sure what all those different polymers are, either.


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