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Lighter Cars of the Future; How Magnesium Plays a Role in Weight Reduction and Fuel Efficiency

January 12, 2012


POINT ROBERTS, Wash., Jan. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — www.InvestorIdeas.com, a global investor research portal for independent investors, reports on developments in the auto industry showcased at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit and how magnesium will play a key role in future innovation. The advancement of lighter weight automobiles will result in significant fuel efficiency. The Cadillac ATS by General Motors and the Porsche 911 Carrera and Carrera S Coupes were a few of the high profile cars on display utilizing magnesium.

Ford F-150, one of the best selling vehicles in the country, also announced that its next generation of Ford F-Series will employ aluminum and magnesium for weight savings, a necessary step to meet the looming EPA’s CAFE standards.

According to Alex Markin, Managing Director of International Magnesium Group “IMG,” wholly owned subsidiary of China Direct Industries, Inc., (NASDAQ:CDII), “We anticipate the demand for magnesium in the automotive industry to escalate worldwide. This will be driven by mandates to lower fuel consumption and by buyers wanting lighter cars as energy costs continue to increase. Our magnesium segment is positioned to capitalize on the potential growth of magnesium in the automotive industry worldwide through our manufacturing competiveness and policy of stabilized pricing. IMG will be able to provide U.S. automakers with competitively priced magnesium if and when the U.S. government lifts its constraints on imported magnesium.”

Magnesium is stronger and lighter than steel and aluminum; 33% lighter than aluminum, 60% lighter than titanium, and 75% lighter than steel.

According to a press release from Porsche, “Development of the new, seventh-generation 911 Carrera and Carrera S Coupes began with a new aluminum-steel body; the Cabriolets continue the evolution with the addition of an all-new, unique top that retains the characteristic 911 coupe roof line. The intelligent lightweight design makes use of magnesium for weight reduction, improved performance and lower fuel consumption. As with the new 911 coupe, Porsche has managed to make the new Cabriolet models up to 132 pounds lighter than their predecessors.”

The Cadillac ATS, General Motors weighs about 3,400 pounds, incorporating an aluminum hood instead of steel, lightweight magnesium engine mounts and other technologies to make it lighter.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu toured the North American International Auto Show and gave a speech on the future of energy, automotives, transportation and the environment from Detroit Public Television and the Detroit Economic Club Wednesday, January 11th.

Secretary Chu reinforced his opinion that investing in innovation will play a key role in keeping U.S. workers and companies competitive

Mr. Chu stated that the Department of Energy is looking at ways to decrease body weight and is looking to advance lightweight materials. He noted, “If you take off 10% of the weight of the car you can improve fuel efficiency by 6-8%. “

According to Frank Sherosky in a recent article in Torque News, as the auto industry shifts, it needs to think better design and materials for lighter cars, not smaller. He says consumers just don’t want lighter to mean smaller. “So, think smart body design here. Think structural design with lighter materials, even a combination of extruded aluminum welded to aluminum panels for greater structural integrity. Moving to aluminum, magnesium and carbon fiber, however, will require a major shift in manufacturing processes at auto plants. This will be as significant as the change from processing IC engines to electrification with lithium-ion batteries.”

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Source: PR Newswire