As millions can attest, losing weight is not easy. Yet when it comes to automakers facing tough new emissions and fuel economy standards, shedding pounds is becoming absolutely mandatory. Grede, one of the nation’s largest producers of critical cast-iron components for cars, light trucks, and commercial and agricultural vehicles, has a major stake in the drive to reduce component weight.
Leading its effort is the SiboDur® ultra high strength ductile iron alloy, which it manufactures exclusively in North America under license from Switzerland’s Georg Fischer Automotive (GF). SiboDur competes favorably in cost and weight reduction with aluminum castings and offers exceptional durability and performance. Grede’s lost-foam casting technology also offers weight-saving possibilities. First, let’s look at the upcoming U.S. standards, although the effort to reduce weight has spread worldwide.
The U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), which last set fuel economy standards 32 years ago, proposes that the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standard climb to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, and 36.6 mpg by 2017. Cars currently achieve 29 mpg and light trucks 24 mpg.*
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) are setting increasingly more stringent, and complex, tailpipe standards to curb emissions that can cause smog and health problems and contribute to global warming.** Because electric vehicles have zero emissions and hybrids intrinsically produce lower pollutants, purchasers can qualify for $2,500 to $7,500 in federal subsidies when buying these vehicles, while CARB offers an additional $2,500.
Removing weight, whether it be vehicles powered by conventional engines or EVs and hybrids, is the key to raising fuel economy and lowering pollutants.
* See Fuel Economy/National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
** See Emission Standards Reference Guide/USEPA.