Tags – Why Are Electric Vehicles Getting Lighter?


In an attempt to lower carbon emissions, the UK government plans to ban the sale of conventional diesel and petrol cars by 2040, manufacturers have responded.

For instance, Ford announced their details of an £8 billion investment into electric vehicles as well as new entrants to the market such as Dyson.

The main goal for car manufacturers today is to find ways that improve the quality of their vehicles in different ways.

Such as offering more competitive prices, better security or a more attractive design.

The biggest though, is energy efficiency and that can only be improved by reducing the vehicle’s weight.

However, many consumers are under the impression that lighter vehicles are not as safe and reducing the weight usually means an increase in costs.

So is there a future for lightweight electric vehicles?

Let’s discuss this in more detail.


Why Electric Cars Need To Be Lighter

The reason why the government is planning to ban sales of diesel and petrol cars is to cut carbon emissions.

Essentially, reducing the weight of a vehicle means less energy will be required to accelerate the car.

Research suggests that if manufacturers are able to reduce the weight of a vehicle by 10%, it can boost fuel economy between 6-8% and at the moment, an electric motor is almost 125% heavier than a standard internal combustion engine.

However, by using lighter materials it can cut the weight of the car’s chassis by half.

With billions of vehicles driven every day, reducing emissions is a pressing concern for both manufacturers and consumers; fuel economy is one of the main priorities for customers when looking to buy a new vehicle. 

Hence why vehicles need to be lighter to meet this goal – but because lightweight materials come at higher cost, the movement has been slow.


Could Magnesium Be The Solution?

With 1,000 metric tonnes of magnesium produced every year, this metal comes with a number of both economic and structural benefits.

To begin with, it’s 75% lighter than steel, 33% lighter than aluminium, and it is 100% recyclable.

Because it is produced from sea water, brines and minerals, offering unlimited reserves, it’s predicted that magnesium will almost entirely replace steel in automotive manufacturing in upcoming years. 

However, magnesium comes with a price tag and its poor high-temperature resistance puts forward concerns.

As such, the automotive industry must optimise it in the right way, to provide better strength and stiffness in order to consider using magnesium as a lightweight alternative material.


Closing Thoughts

Overall, as we move towards an all-electric future, the need for better efficiency and lightweight materials is a major driver for the automotive industry.


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