The automotive industry in recent years has shown increasing interest in the development of lighter body/chassis materials, to reduce both fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. At the same time, such lighter materials must meet the high expectations of car builders, regulators and vehicle customers/drivers, to be fully successful on a commercial scale. The prime regulatory issues are safety (such as crashworthiness to avoid loss of life) and environmental factors.
Each vehicle OEM approaches this challenge with a different materials mix, in developing cars with better fuel efficiency and lower weight. There are ongoing R&D developments in industry, among contract researchers, and in academia to promote improved body/chassis materials, as well as all automotive materials.
This research service, “Materials Technologies Driving the Future of Automotive”, sheds light on key trends in the automotive industry, and the role of materials in satisfying the demands of the industry. The research service also comments on the current and likely future materials approaches out to 2020, as well as the role of various stakeholders in the value chain. The focus is on body/chassis materials, which account for a large segment of vehicle mass, and that domain is seeing lots of innovation with weight reduction. The focus is on higher-volume passenger car uses in three countries: Germany, USA, and Japan.