The Commercial Metal Of Choice
Auto Components India|December 2020
Over the past several years, usage of aluminium in automobiles and light-weighting of trucks has witnessed the highest growth in comparison to other aluminium applications,in any segment of use.
Ajay Kapur, Chief Executive Officer, Vedanta Aluminium & Power Business

Aluminium is the second most used metal in the world after steel. It has the potential to become the most important commercial metal in the future. Aluminium holds strategic importance for the economy as the commercial metal of choice for all kinds of transportation, power, aerospace, defence, infrastructure and packaging needs. Backed by rich bauxite deposits, India has the secondlargest aluminium production capacity in the world after China. Vedanta’s Aluminium Business produces more than half of India’s aluminium at an estimated output of 1.9 Million Tonnes Per Annum (MTPA) in FY20. Most developed countries have already designated aluminium as a core industry. Given the role, aluminium plays in supporting the core sectors and in the success of government’s visionary initiatives like ‘Make in India’, ‘Smart Cities’, ‘Power for All’, and the indigenous space programme, use of this metal in India is only going to increase with time.

Aluminium in the automotive industry

Aluminium in automobiles has been used for several years and its consumption in new vehicles is increasing steadily. Over the past several years, usage of aluminium in automobiles and light-weighting of trucks has witnessed the highest growth in comparison to other aluminium applications, in any segment of use.

High strength to weight ratio, lightweight, corrosion resistance, supreme formability, high ductility and conductivity, stylish finish and infinite recyclability, coupled with the fact that bauxite (aluminium ore) mining is sustainable and eco-friendly, are some of aluminium’s unique selling properties which have made it a metal of choice for some of the most iconic automakers. High performance and elegance need not come at the cost of high fuel consumption, high maintenance and environmental impact, and aluminium ensures this to a great degree.

Aluminium remains the fastest-growing automotive material over competing materials and is entering its most unprecedented growth phase. This is mainly because the global economy is swiftly moving towards a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable lifestyle.

Demand drivers

Aluminium is the second most used metal in the auto industry today. Its usage has been rapidly increasing because it offers an environment friendly and cost-effective way to increase performance, boost fuel economy and reduce emissions while maintaining or improving safety and durability.

Aluminium is substantially lighter than its counterparts, offering a significant reduction in weight. The metal has a higher strength-to-weight ratio compared to traditional materials that enables it to absorb twice the crash energy of mild steel, ensuring vehicular performance enhancements do not come at the cost of safety.

This has a direct impact on fuel consumption, range, and carbon emissions making it the top choice for automobiles. Coming to Electric Vehicles (EV), the need for lightweight battery casings and heat exchangers in electric vehicles, combined with autonomous vehicles’ demands for high visibility and structural integrity, is expected to further boost the use of aluminium in cars, trucks and buses going forward. Further, thanks to the metal’s thermal and anticorrosion properties, aluminium is ideal for battery frames. Aluminium is also likely to witness an increase in demand on account of growth in infrastructure for serving EVs since the metal is commonly used as a housing material for EV charging stations as well.

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