Ford Downplays Use Of Aluminum In Passenger Cars


Ford has made a big splash in the truck world recently by choosing to use lots more aluminum to build its iconic F 150, which shaves more than 700 lbs of weight off the finished product. Ford has also surprised truck buyers by offering a 2.7 liter twin turbocharged EcoBoost V-6 in the F 150 as well. But company executive Joe Hinrichs told the Automotive News World Congress last week that the company is not expecting to substitute aluminum for steel in its passenger cars as aggressively as in its trucks, reports The Detroit Bureau.

Part of the reason for that is cars already weigh less than trucks, so the gains are smaller and do not justify the extra cost. Another reason why aluminum works so well for trucks is that less weight in the truck body and frame means higher towing capacity. A truck that is 700 lbs lighter can tow a load that is 700 lbs heavier. Towing capacity is not nearly as important in a passenger vehicle.

What Ford is ready to do, though, is add more carbon fiber to the mix. Lots more carbon fiber. Ford is working with Dow Chemical to put carbon fiber into mass production, much as BMW has with its i3. The first fruits of that collaboration are apparent in the spectacular new GT, which is built using mostly aluminum and carbon fiber. Lessons learned from the GT program will be applied to upcoming mainstream passenger cars.

AutoBlog recently visited a Ford production facility and shot a video of what they saw. Even though we all pretty much know how cars and trucks are built, it is still fun to see them coming together on the assembly line.

Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.